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Energy Research Group

Welcome

The newest Group in the CNST develops instruments designed to reveal the nanoscale physical and chemical processes and properties critical to advances in energy conversion, transport and storage. The Group’s research includes nanoscale characterization of light-matter interaction, charge and energy transfer processes, catalytic activity and interfacial structure in energy-related materials and devices.  The current focus is on the creation of instrumentation for nanoscale characterization of photovoltaic and thermoelectric materials and devices and computational models of energy and charge transfer dynamics.

Programs/Projects

Electronic Transport in Nanoscale Organic/Inorganic Devices—Organic materials (multi-carbon compounds) are amenable to almost Lego©-like tinkering with their structure and composition, and can exhibit a wide range of properties that might make possible …

Theory and Modeling of Materials for Renewable Energy—Renewable energy sources such as solar energy are attractive alternatives to fossil fuels because of their abundant supply and pollution-free power generation.  Currently, only a fraction of the …

Nanostructures for Energy Conversion—Electrochemical systems containing nanostructured materials are increasingly being incorporated into  devices for efficiently harvesting, storing, and converting  energy.  These nanoelectrochemical …

Optoelectrical Characterization of Nanostructured Photovoltaic Materials and Devices—Photovoltaics technology is usually categorized into three generations: 1) devices based on polysilicon; 2) devices based on thin-film direct bandgap semiconductors; and 3) devices that exploit …

Nanoscale Functional and Structural Characterization of Thin-Film Inorganic Solar Cells—Large-scale implementation of solar power generation requires photovoltaic (PV) devices with efficiency-to-cost ratios better than existing silicon-based solar devices. Next generation devices …

Metrology of High Current Density Electron Field Emitters—Electron sources are ubiquitous in vacuum based electronics and are used for a variety of purposes.  These applications range from x-ray production used for imaging in both the medical and security …

Infrared Imaging Beyond the Diffraction Limit—There are a variety of tools for characterizing nanoscale morphology and structure, such as scanning probe, scanning electron, and transmission electron microscopies. In contrast, the typical tools …

Nanostructured Thermoelectrics—Thermoelectrics are materials that can reversibly convert a temperature difference across the material into electricity. As a renewable technology, thermoelectrics hold promise in increasing …

Metrologies for Nanobiomaterials in Artificial Photosynthesis—Novel technologies for solar fuel production are expected to increasingly contribute to meeting our nation’s environmental and energy needs.  Mimicking nature’s ability to photochemically split …

Nanowire Lithium-Ion Battery—The rechargeable battery has become ubiquitous in modern society, powering a host of seemingly indispensible portable electronics and communications devices. Improving battery performance for …