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The Energy & Photon Sciences Directorate is working to solve grand challenges in energy that will create solutions and security for the nation’s energy system. Advances in basic science are the underpinning of transformational discoveries that rely on Brookhaven’s data-driven research, cutting-edge synchrotron science, and leadership in energy science through real-time study of working conditions in applicable energy materials.  Leveraging its world-class scientific staff, one-of-a-kind facilities, and key partnerships in New York State and beyond, the Energy & Photon Sciences Directorate focuses on scientific challenges in the following areas.

Chemistry for Sustainable Energy

Sustainable fuel synthesis, novel fuel use in fuel cells, chemical dynamics fundamentals

Advanced materials

Strongly correlated electron physics, applications of new materials

Energy Storage

Emergent superconductivity, molecular to mesoscale energy transport, renewable and sustainable energy storage

Energy Delivery and Efficiency

Combustion efficiency, electric grid distribution system, materials for energy applications

Photon Science

Accelerator innovation, world-leading photon science, from biology to geology using soft to hard x-rays


Nano-architecture studies, nanoscale assembly, imaging in working conditions in real time

Energy & Photon Sciences Facilities

State-of-the-art facilities enable visiting scientists and industry partners to work with Brookhaven Lab’s expert staff to create, characterize, understand, and exploit nanomaterials in real working conditions for energy solutions.

photo of NSLS-II

NSLS-II is one of the most advanced tools for discovery class science in condensed matter and materials physics, chemistry, and biology – science that ultimately will enhance national and energy security and help drive abundant, safe, and clean energy technologies. NSLS-II offers scientists from academia and industry the ability to make major advances in materials that will enable new energy technologies such as nanocatalyst-based fuel cells, solar energy, high temperature superconductors, electrical storage systems, and more.

photo of CFN

The Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN) explores the unique properties of materials and processes at the nanoscale. The CFN is a user-oriented research center whose mission is to be an open facility for the nanoscience research community and advance the science of nanomaterials that address the nation's energy challenges. CFN hosts a broad range of nanoscience research in such diverse fields as efficient catalysts, fuel cell chemistries and architectures, and photovoltaic components. 

Supporting Programs


Chemistry division scientists conduct basic and applied research in the chemical sciences 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.


The field of Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science (CMPMS) integrates the knowledge and tools of chemistry and physics with the principles of engineering to understand and optimize the behavior of materials, as well as to create new and improved materials to help fulfill the missions of the Department of Energy. The researchers of the Condensed Matter Physics & Materials Science Department study basic, theoretical and applied aspects of materials, their utilization, and their electronic, physical, mechanical, and chemical properties in relation to their structure

Interdisciplinary Science

The Interdisciplinary Science Department finds alternatives to fossil fuels and improves energy efficiency to meet our exponentially growing energy needs over the next century and beyond.

The department focuses research on energy storage such as solid-state hydrogen storage and lithium batteries, renewable energy and grid integration, energy conversion, and long-term integrated energy, environmental, and economic analysis.