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Frontiers in Energy Research: July 2012
Feature Articles
  • Irene Beyerlein, co-director at the Center for Materials at Irradiation and Mechanical Extremes, is an avid road cyclist.

    Gene Nolis

    Choosing a career can be a daunting task for a student in college about to graduate, but not for this newsletter's featured research scientist: Irene Beyerlein. Beyerlein, co-director of the Center for Materials at Irradiation and Mechanical Extremes, likes to say she is up to the challenge for just about anything.

Research Highlights
  • Bryce Sadtler

    Researchers at the Center for Energy Nanoscience, have demonstrated dramatically increased efficiency in thin solar cells by using small gold particles to concentrate light into the cell.

  • Anne-Marie Carey

    Biohybrid light-capturing antennas capable of harvesting solar energy from a wider range of the solar spectrum than the antennas used by photosynthesizing organisms have been constructed by a group of researchers from the Photosynthetic Antenna Research Center or PARC.

  • Samson Lai

    Minute amounts of an elusive chemical poison and other molecules were detected on the electrode surface of solid oxide fuel cells by a collaborative team of researchers at the HeteroFoaM Center using a technique called surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, or SERS.

  • The image shows the metal oxide sheets with nanometer thickness as prepared by the novel synthesis procedure. The inset represents the atomic structure of the mixed oxide, where grey spheres correspond to cobalt cations, red spheres represent oxygen anions, and green and yellow spheres symbolize sodium cations. This electrically conductive oxide shows unique properties for thermoelectric devices and batteries.

    Gonzalo Prieto

    By re-conceiving synthesis strategies, researchers at the Energy Materials Center at Cornell have demonstrated a novel and easily scalable synthesis route that produces very long sodium cobalt oxide nanosheets.

  • Ralph L. House

    A new molecular catalyst orchestrates a chemical reduction process where, by definition, electrons react with carbon dioxide to form formate, which can serve as a fuel or a precursor to fuels such as methanol.

  • Timothy D. Courtney

    Researchers at the Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation have developed a crucial step that enables conversion of inedible biomass, such as grass or corn stalks, to polyester PET, the ubiquitous plastic with triangular recycling code "#1," used in everything from clothing to soda bottles.

  • Rajiv Giridharagopal

    A team from the Center for Interface Science: Solar Electric Materials recently published a technique in Nano Letters for measuring events as fast as 100 nanoseconds on areas as small as 80 nanometers. This technique is based on atomic force microscopy, a popular method for taking images of surfaces with resolution of billionths of a meter.

In this issue of Frontiers in Energy Research, the editorial board brings you the people behind the science. While the primary mission of the Energy Frontier Research Centers is to advance basic research in energy-specific areas, many of the scientists are passionate about addressing a national need for science among students and teachers. Learn about their successes. Also, see how Irene Beyerlein, co-director of the Center for Materials at Irradiation and Mechanical Extremes, takes on the challenges of science, cycling, and her moral responsibility to the next generation of scientists. You’ll also get a glimpse into new research that’s being done at different Centers and how it is changing the frontiers of energy.

This newsletter was developed by early career scientists who work in the EFRCs. Some of the members of our editorial board are just completing their graduate degrees, while others are working in labs and lecture halls. All are dedicated, curious and committed to communicating about science. In addition, our board benefitted from the talents of two guest authors this issue.

Kristin Manke
Editor-in- Chief

Editorial Board

  • Anne-Marie Carey, Photosynthetic Antenna Research Center
  • Alex Chernatynskiy, Center for Materials Science of Nuclear Fuels
  • Tim Courtney, Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation
  • Samson Lai, HeteroFoaM
  • Prieto Gonzalo, Center for Atomic Level Catalysis Design
  • Jessica Morrison, Materials Science of Actinides
  • Bryce Sadtler, Light-Material Interactions in Energy Conversion
  • Haixuan Xu, Center of Defect Physics
  • Andriy Zakutayev, Center for Inverse Design

Guest Authors and Reviewers

  • Ralph House, Solar Fuels and Next Generation Photovoltaics Energy Frontier Research Center
  • Gene Nolis, Northeastern Center for Chemical Energy Storage Energy Frontier Research Center
Disclaimer: The opinions in this newsletter are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views or position of the Department of Energy.