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Nanomaterials Chemistry

The Nanomaterials Chemistry Group conducts fundamental research related to the synthesis and characterization of nanostructured materials, ionic liquids, and liquid and polymer electrolytes for fundamental investigations in separations, catalysis, and energy storage.

The group also conducts applied research related to the application of nanomaterials and electrolytes in catalysts for energy conversion, novel electrodes for energy storage, electroplating, advanced scintillators for radiation sensing, and sensing devices for biological agents as well as the development of fibrous and nanoporous adsorbents for the extraction of valuable metals from extreme environments, such as seawater.

We employ computational chemical approaches to understand experimental results related to separations and other interfacial processes, as well as in the rational design of advanced nanomaterials and task specific ionic liquids. Our research program takes advantage of the unique resources at ORNL, such as small-angle x-ray scattering at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences; small-angle neutron scattering at the High Flux Isotope Reactor and the Spallation Neutron Source; and structural analysis by a variety of electron microscopes (SEM, TEM, STEM, HRTEM) and powdered X-ray diffraction techniques.

Extensive synthetic capabilities exist within the group for the preparation of mesoporous materials, low-dimensional materials, sol-gel materials, and inorganic and hybrid materials or monoliths. Solution phase synthesis, solvothermal, ionothermal, templating synthesis, chemical vapor deposition and atomic layer deposition methods are extensively utilized for tailored synthesis of nanostructured materials. An array of techniques for characterizing physical and chemical properties related to separation, catalysis, and energy storage are in place or are currently being developed.

We extensively utilize DOE-BES User Facilities such as the Advanced Photon Source and Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource for performing advanced material characterization techniques.