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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. SEP

    12

    Thursday

    Chemistry Department Colloquium

    "Oxygen Catalysis for Large Scale Solar Energy Harvesting and Storage"

    Presented by Dunwei Wang, Boston College

    11 am, Hamilton Seminar Room, Bldg. 555

    Thursday, September 12, 2019, 11:00 am

    Hosted by: Anatoly Frenkel

    : As we enter Anthropocene, it has become clearer than ever that a sustainable future will be one built on renewable energy resources. A critical challenge in realizing such a goal is to harvest and store renewable energy efficiently and inexpensively on a terawatt scale. Of the options that have been examined, using the energy to directly synthesize fuels stands out. When the renewable energy source is solar, the process is often referred to as artificial photosynthesis, highlighting the similarities with natural photosynthesis. Within this context, we have focused on understanding the detailed processes that are important to artificial photosynthesis. More specifically, a main thrust of our research has been water oxidation by photochemical reactions on the surface of inorganic materials. We strived to understand the detailed physical and chemical processes at the solid/liquid interface, with the goal of enabling facile electron extraction from water for the eventual proton reduction for hydrogen generation or the carbon dioxide reduction for the production of complex organic compounds. It was discovered that the light harvesting and catalytic components in an integrated system exerts profound influences on each other in a complex fashion. Detailed studies generated new insights into the water oxidation reactions at the molecular level, some of which was readily transferred to other reactions such as methane transformation. These efforts also inspired us to study oxygen catalysis in aprotic systems for applications with more immediate implications, such as metal air batteries.

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 

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.

Catalysis for Alternative Fuels Production

Understanding and developing metal carbides and bimetallic alloys as catalysts and electrocatalysts through combined theoretical and experimental approaches over model surfaces and supported catalysts.  Investigating structural and electronic properties of catalysts using in situ synchrotron techniques.

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