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Our Research Mission

Scientists in Brookhaven's Chemistry Division conduct basic and applied chemical research with an emphasis on new energy conversion pathways.

Primary research subjects include catalysis and electrocatalysis for sustainable fuel synthesis and use, solar energy conversion to fuels, fundamental gas and condensed phase molecular dynamics, radiation chemistry, and advanced chemical separations for energy applications. Fundamental studies of neutrino properties are also conducted in several international collaborations in nuclear and particle physics. 

  1. AUG



    Chemistry Department Colloquium

    "Chemical Kinetics and Tunneling on Interstellar Dust Grains"

    Presented by Professor Gunnar Nyman, Dept. of Chemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Gothenburg, Goteborg, Sweden, Sweden

    11 am, Hamilton Seminar Room, Bldg. 555

    Monday, August 28, 2017, 11:00 am

    Hosted by: 'Greg Hall'

    Dust can be important for the interstellar chemistry in the gas phase. The process where an atom or molecule lands on a dust grain, diffuses on the grain and meets another atom or molecule to form a new species, which can then desorb from the grain is essentially a description of how heterogeneous catalysis occurs. The importance of this process would depend on the diffusion rate of at least one of the adsorbed species and the products desorbing from the grain. This is particularly relevant for H2 formation in interstellar space. Atoms and molecules adsorbed on grains may be modeled as sitting in a local potential energy minimum. Diffusion can then be thought of as occurring through consecutive jumps from one minimum to another. The transition rate constants between adjacent minima can be estimated by for instance transition state theory. Such rate constants can in turn be used in Kinetic Monte Carlo simulation to obtain diffusion rates. Light atoms, particularly hydrogen atoms can tunnel through potential energy barriers. Tunneling may therefore substantially increase the rate of transition from one minimum to the next and thus the diffusion rate. Deuterium tunnels less efficiently than the lighter isotope and kinetic isotope effects (KIEs) are thus expected. Laboratory experiments have been carried out where either H atoms or D atoms diffuse on amorphous or polycrystalline ice at 10 K. Interesting KIEs were obtained.

Artificial Photosynthesis

Advances fundamental knowledge of chemical systems to convert sunlight to viable chemical fuels, inspired by natural photosynthesis, in which green plants convert sunlight, water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and carbohydrates.

Catalysis: Reactivity and Structure

Pursues an improved understanding of chemical catalysis for advanced fuels synthesis and energy conversion processes by elucidating catalytically important properties of well-defined surfaces, powders and nanostructures.

Electrochemical Energy Storage

Conducts research on both fundamental and applied problems relating to electrochemical energy storage systems and materials including lithium-ion, lithium-air, lithium-sulfur, and sodium-ion rechargeable batteries; electrochemical super-capacitors; and cathode, anode, and electrolyte materials.

Electron- and Photo-Induced Processes

Applies both photoexcitation and ionization by short pulses of fast electrons to investigate fundamental chemical problems relevant to the production and efficient use of energy 

Gas Phase Molecular Dynamics

Develops and applies high resolution spectroscopic and quantum theoretic tools to study the structure, dynamics, and chemical reactivity of molecular species relevant to hydrocarbon combustion.

Neutrino and Nuclear Chemistry

Participates in international collaborations including Low Energy Neutrino Spectroscopy (LENS), "SNO+", the Daya Bay neutrino experiment, and the long-baseline neutrino experiment (LBNE)

Surface Chemical Dynamics

Works to understand the underlying physical processes that determine the products and yield of chemical transformations relevant to energy-related chemistry on catalytic and nanostructured surfaces. 

Surface Electrochemistry and Electrocatalysis

Explores problems of electrocatalysis of fuel cell reactions focusing on platinum monolayer (PtML) electrocatalysts for the O2 reduction reaction, the electrocatalysts for ethanol and methanol oxidation to CO2, H2 evolution and H2 oxidation reactions. 

Structure and Dynamics of Applied Nanomaterials

Studies mechanisms of work of advanced functional nanomaterials by elucidating the nature of their active species by situ/operando methods of spectroscopy, scattering and imaging.

The Chemistry Division is part of Brookhaven National Laboratory's Energy & Photon Sciences Directorate.