There are strong environmental, commercial, and societal incentives to develop new materials and processes that use, convert, or store energy more efficiently, under more demanding conditions, and with less waste. Advancements in these areas increasingly rely on complicated and heterogeneous materials that are challenging to synthesize and with properties that are difficult to control. Recently and in parallel, there have been advancements in fundamental chemistry, physics, and instrumentation that have led to new capabilities to characterize heterogeneous solids at an atomic level. In particular, powerful methods of magnetic resonance spectroscopy provide detailed insights on the local compositions and structures of heterogeneous materials, especially at surfaces, which can be correlated with their macroscopic properties. In conjunction with X-ray and microscopy analyses, the enhanced sensitivity and resolution provided by new state-of-the-art NMR methods enable the properties and performances of materials for energy and environmental applications to be understood and improved. Examples include the development of new catalysts for hydrocarbon refining and pollution control, advanced structural solids, new membrane materials for electrochemical devices, and new optoelectronic materials for efficient conversion of energy. These diverse materials and applications exhibit many similar molecular-scale attributes, the understanding of which opens new opportunities for their design and engineering in ways that have not previously been possible.
Institute of Materials Science and Engineering
Understanding the Surface Properties of Heterogeneous Materials at a Molecular Level
Dr. Bradley F. Chmelka (hosted by Axelbaum & Hayes), Chemical Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara
February 6, 2017 at 11:00 am