Advances in theory, numerical algorithms and computational
capabilities have enabled an unprecedented opportunity for fundamental
understanding of the structure and functional characteristics of
materials. The CFN Theory and Computation Group supports an open
community of staff, partners and users where theory interacts vigorously
with experiment to achieve fundamental advances in nanoscience,
emphasizing opportunities for impact on future energy needs. The staff
members in the group have diverse areas of theoretical and
phenomenological expertise, supporting active engagement in research
directed to fundamental understanding of phenomena in each of the CFN
science themes as well as research that advances materials theory
Exemplary scientific questions and lines of inquiry from recent research
illustrate the scope of the group:
- What are the principals that regulate the “inverse design” of
nanoscale building blocks to assure assembly of a target mesoscale
- What are the design rules that govern electronic transport at the
scale of individual organic molecules?
- Establish Density Functional Theory based techniques to accurately
describe charge localization and optical spectra in conducting
- What is the interplay between chemically specific interactions and
non-specific Van der Waals interactions in the binding of molecules
to metal nanoparticles?
- Extending many-body perturbation theory to treat electron
correlation in bonding more accurately and with methods that allow
treatment of model structures in catalysis.
- What are the key structural motifs at the interface between water
and semiconductor alloy materials that enable efficient
photocatalytic water oxidation?
- Modeling catalytically active metal nanoparticle structures on mixed
oxide supports to establish active sites and reaction pathways.