Research at the EMS Energy Institute is aligned with future challenges for energy and material needs in the areas of energy storage, conservation, transfer, efficiency, control, and generation. The philosophy of the EMS Energy Institute’s Nanomaterials Program is that the elementary steps of energy transformation, storage, efficiency, conservation, control, conversion, and generation (e.g. charge transfer, molecular rearrangements, chemical reactions, etc.) take place on the nanoscale, as interfacial processes. Therefore, nanomaterials acting as interfacial modifiers can profoundly alter the energy landscape. At the Institute, our research involves:
- Developing new nanoscale materials by model, design and experiment,
- Using electron microscopy and spectroscopy-based methods to characterize these materials, and
- Employing physical and chemical processes to manipulate and assemble them, followed by performance evaluation either as a material or integrated into a device/system.
- New nanostructured macro-scale carbons for capacitor, battery, and gas storage materials.
- Computationally aided design of ionic polymer electrolytes for lithium ion batteries.
- Customization of novel materials for a particular application.
- Investigation of novel gas–solid interaction mechanisms, including hydrogen spillover, reversibly hydrogenation, and gas trapping.
- Lubrication studies of oil aging and breakdown mechanisms.
- Electrolyte/electrode interfacial structure on performance of proton exchange membrane fuel cells.
- Lightweight composites for transportation vehicle efficiency.
- Process control using metal oxide (based) gas sensors.
- Photon capture and conversion processes for electricity by energetic electrons.
- Thin film materials synthesis for photovoltaic devices.