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Materials Chemistry

The Materials Chemistry Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is involved in multidisciplinary research ranging from polymer composite systems to a variety of inorganic materials for energy generation, storage and use. Our research focuses on the development of scientific knowledge based on how to predict and control the material’s functionality and combines synthetic chemistry and additive manufacturing with a wide range of characterization techniques.

Research in inorganic thin films is focused on the epitaxial growth of oxides from wet-chemical solution, physical/chemical vapor deposition (e.g., sputtering, MOCVD) approaches as well as exploitation of phase separation in oxide materials for the production of unique nanostructured thin films. Classes of materials under study include superhydrophobic materials, polymer-ceramic composite films, scintillators for neutron and gamma detectors, high temperature superconductors, electro-optic perovskites, permanent magnets and battery/solid-oxide fuel cell electrode materials, sorbents for lithium separation from geothermal brine, electro active materials for supercapacitors, printed material systems for flexible electronics, and nanostructured films and selective chemistries for passive wireless gas sensors.

Our work in bulk powders, single crystals, and nanoparticles is focused on metals, alloys, oxides, halides and chalcogenide materials with interesting, electrical, optical, magnetic, or catalytic properties. Materials are studied using numerous techniques including, electron microscopy, optical spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering, Hall-probe, X-ray diffraction, small angle X-ray scattering, neutron scattering (typically elastic and quasielastic), magnetic and mechanical property measurements and electrochemical testing.

Research funding is provided primarily by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.