Frontiers in Energy Research: January 2014

January 2014

Mastering Materials Far from Equilibrium

Tyler Josephson and Eyas Mahmoud thumb

Non-equilibrium conditions are what allow planes to fly, soda to be carbonated, and steel to remain unrusted, but many natural and artificial processes prefer to be at equilibrium conditions, which is the most stable state of a system. However, the most desirable state is often far from these equilibrium conditions. Recognizing the importance of non-equilibrium processes in energy, the U.S. Department of Energy identified the Fifth Grand Challenge for science in the 21st century to be: How do we characterize and control matter away—especially very far away—from equilibrium?

"Everybody Is an Engineer": An Interview with Maria Luckyanova

Kara Manke thumb

When cruising at an altitude of 30,000 feet, most people credit the pilot for their safe journey through the skies. However, the next time you are on an airplane, Maria Luckyanova wants you to think about the teams of engineers who also contributed to your flight: the mechanical engineers who built the engines and the wings, the chemical engineers who developed the fuel, and the electrical engineers who designed the flight control system.

Research Highlights

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    Assembling Matter with a Magnet

    Laila Jaber-Ansari While building solar energy collectors or other materials via colloid solutions with two or more particle types is possible, few schema turn out precise structures. These schemas only work in specific situations. Scientists designed a process that creates precise structures with different components...
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    New Nanopatterning Technique Driven by Light

    Dennis M. Callahan Today's synthesis routes cannot produce revolutionary materials needed for nationwide sustainable energy production and storage. New routes are needed to synthesize efficient catalysts without waste and to generate more durable materials...
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    A Tipping Point for Solar Fuels

    Ralph L. House To heat more homes and power more industries, solar cells should be more like plant leaves and store the energy they produce for later use. The challenge is to create a solar cell that is both efficient and economic enough to be accessible on massive scales...
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.