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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. JUN



    Chemistry Department Colloquium

    "Recent Advances in Soft X-ray Spectroscopy towards a Direct and Reliable Probe of Chemistry in Batteries"

    Presented by Wanli Yang, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

    2 pm, Hamilton Seminar Room, Bldg. 555

    Thursday, June 27, 2019, 2:00 pm

    Hosted by: Enyuan Hu

    The pressing demand of improved energy storage systems, especially for electric vehicles and green-grid, calls for speedy strategies for developing materials based on advanced analytic tools. Synchrotron based soft x-ray core-level spectroscopy is one of such incisive tools that probes the key electronic states pertaining to the performance of batteries. This colloquium starts with an in-depth introduction of conventional soft X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) and X-ray emission spectroscopy (XES) with its applications in detecting the critical electron states in battery materials from binder to electrodes. The experimental results provide both general understandings and quantitative analysis of the transition-metal (TM) reactions at different electrochemical states, through direct probes of the K-edges (2p states) of low-Z elements such as C, O, N, and the L-edges (3d states) of 3d TMs. More importantly, however, we clarify that conventional spectroscopic experiments based on XAS do not really provide the claimed "elemental sensitivity" in either the O-K or the TM-L in the bulk-sensitive photon-in-photon-out mode, thus failing to detect the true signature of the bulk redox reactions of lower TMs, and especially, Oxygen [1]. This naturally requires advanced spectroscopic probes beyond conventional XAS for disentangle the mixed signals in oxides. We show that high-efficiency mapping of resonant inelastic X-ray scattering (mRIXS) beautifully solves the problems in both TM-L and O-K edge characterizations, providing clear experimental signatures of both the TM [2] and Oxygen [3] redox that cannot be distinguished in conventional XAS. This colloquium does not focus on technical discussions of a specific scientific study, instead, the focus will be on clarifying the principle and on how to correctly interpreting soft X-ray spectroscopic data instead of following popular misinterpretations. We finally note that recent advances in bo

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.