REMRSEC Research

The Center, in close partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and other partners, conducts interdisciplinary research focused on innovation in clean energy and sustainability, with discovery and development of a broad range of advanced materials and processing. Three key research areas within the Center are described below.

Transition Metal Nitride and Carbide Nanomaterials for Sustainable Catalysis

C. Ciobanu (lead, CSM), R. Richards (co-lead, CSM/NREL), B. Trewyn, S. Pylypenko, V. Stevanović (CSM), J. Schaidle, D. Ruddy, D. Robichaud (NREL), Y. Román-Leshkov (MIT), M.Toney (SLAC),

The presence of many binding sites (different species, facets/sites, and coordinations, with a wide range of adsorption energies) can lead to multifunctional catalytic materials with new relations between the activity and structural properties, potentially unleashing new classes of highly active nanomaterials and new paradigms for catalyst design. Starting from pioneering synthetic methods developed by our team, we will develop and leverage coupled computational and synthetic approaches to access a diverse set of compositions and morphologies for (earth abundant) carbide and nitride nanomaterials. We will integrate chemistry, materials science, and computational high throughput approaches to drive the discovery of these earth abundant materials with unprecedented catalytic and surface properties.

The three thrusts of this research program include: (a) Controlled Synthesis, via fundamental understanding of growth mechanisms; (b) Surface Reaction Studies of kinetic pathways and intermediates; and (c) Relations between structure and catalytic properties.

Future Ionics: Harnessing Electronic Structure to Take Solid-State Ionics Beyond Li+, H+, and O2

R. O’Hayre (Lead), V. Stevanović (co-Lead), R.J. Kee, E. S. Toberer, A. Zakutayev (NREL), S. Lany (NREL), C. Musgrave (CU Boulder), S. Ramanathan (Purdue), M. F. Toney (SLAC)

Nearly all conventional ceramic ion conductors are based on insulators that are extrinsically doped to induce ionic conductivity. We propose a new paradigm to design ionic conductors starting from electronically-conducting oxides instead. By suppressing or embracing the electronic conductivity present in these systems, we will access unique ionic or mixed ionic/electronic conducting regimes, thereby creating novel anion conductors (H-, N3-, or F-) and multinary (multi-species) conductors. Our team will combine high throughput theory and characterization and combinatorial synthesis to understand how the electronic degrees of freedom can be tuned to achieve new ionic or mixed ionic/electron conductors starting from several different classes of electronically conducting oxides.

New ion conductors from electron conductors

Probing complex BCFcompositional space via experiment and theory.

Metastable Group IV Allotropes with Designer Electronic & Ion Transport Properties

C.A. Koh (Lead), R.T. Collins (co-Lead), C.G. Durfee, L. Krishna, C.M. Maupin, R. O’Hayre, S. Vyas (CSM), P. Stradins (NREL), T.A. Strobel (CIW), S.M. Kauzlarich (UC Davis)

Group IV allotropes have the potential for fundamentally exciting and technologically important ion transport, charge conductivity, and optoelectronic properties. Research directed at ionic degrees of freedom is motivated by the role of ionic transport in clean energy storage and conversion (e.g. battery electrodes). The potential importance of discovering new column IV semiconductors with superior absorption, enhanced mobility, and efficient light emission drives our investigations of electronic degrees of freedom of these materials. In parallel with these activities we will design new, non-equilibrium, synthetic approaches capable of producing key group IV allotropes with controlled defect density in bulk, thin film, or nanostructured form, and in sufficient quantities to allow structure-function properties to be determined.

Theory Guided Non-Equilibrium Synthesis & Structure-Property Understanding of Non-Carbon, Group IV Allotropes, Based on Our Recent Discoveries & Developments.