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A Note from Steve Dierker

Steve Dierker

"NSLS Enables Critical Assessment of Proposed Solar Material"

"Scientists Create Low-Lignin Plants with Improved Potential for Biofuel Production"

"Topological Insulator Shows Promise for New Class of Room-Temperature Electronics"

"Scientists Discover Bilayer Structure in Efficient Solar Material"

This is a sampling of energy research at the National Synchrotron Light Source that made headlines over the past six months or so. The facilities at Brookhaven Lab – like NSLS and the Center for Functional Nanomaterials – are enabling advances that push beyond the limitations of current energy technologies. NSLS-II, producing x-rays 10,000 brighter than NSLS, will provide a much more powerful tool for exploring new energy technologies.

Earlier this month, both light sources were represented at the 2012 GE Technology Summit. Sponsored by GE Global Research, headquartered in Niskayuna, New York, the two-day meeting had sessions on renewable-energy technologies, high-performance computing, materials, and “smart” grid, which refers to computerizing the electric utility grid.

At such scientific gatherings, where we can build relationships and encourage collaborations with external partners, we are pleased to share our scientific capabilities. These are some of the examples of work presented at the GE meeting:

Structural and Chemical Imaging at the Nanoscale

  • Structural and chemical imaging at nanometer-scale resolution in broad areas of science, from nanomaterials and technology to biology and environmental sciences
  • X-ray nanoprobe complements existing electron microscopy capabilities, and allows nanoscale in-situ imaging in realistic environmental conditions

Complexity and Dynamics by Coherent Scattering

  • Coherent scattering at resonant energies allows imaging of domain structures and their interactions in strongly correlated electron systems where competing degrees-of-freedom often co-exist
  • In-situ x-ray correlation spectroscopy studies of flow dynamics in redox flow batteries inform how redox-active colloidal electrolyte microparticles interact and how these interactions affect battery function

In-operando Study of Materials and Devices

  • Structure and kinetics of complex materials under real conditions, for example, cathode degradation, catalytic activity and cycling failure in a planar solid oxide fuel cell at elevated temperatures, using time-resolved x-ray diffraction and x-ray absorption spectroscopy
  • In-operando x-ray diffraction studies by GE of full-sized commercial sodium-metal halide battery cells during cycling provides unprecedented insight on chemical distribution, reaction products, conversion rates, and degradation pathways, a unique capability applicable to all battery chemistries

3D Nanotomography

  • Transmission x-ray microscope at NSLS/NSLS-II provides cutting-edge 3D tomography capabilities at sub-50 nanometer 3D resolution
  • In-situ specimen cells allow 3D tomographic views of functioning devices such as micro batteries, fuel cells, and catalytic particles
  • Intense synchrotron beam enables time-resolved studies of in-situ microstructure changes, such as dendrites growth in electrochemical processes

NSLS continues to be a very productive facility, hosting nearly 2,400 users and producing close to 900 publications every year. The NSLS-II era is just around the corner, with the construction project over 80 percent complete and commissioning of the initial suite of beamlines slated for 2014.

2012-3413  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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