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Metastability for Awesome Utility

My sibling is grounded,
has low energy.
And then you have me
and I wish to be free.

I’m in the same family
and share a last name,
but look so much different
and play my own game.

My energy level
is way out of sight.
But in my own valley,
it seems about right.

Controlling my function,
what’s making me “me”?
It comes down to
atomic geometry.

I have other siblings,
my own polymorphs,
of differing energy
and valleys, of course.

We each have our own
special functions and traits,
which lead to our wide-ranging
uses and fates.

I interact well
catalytically speaking.
But brother’s a dud
and won’t offer a greeting.

I don’t really know
all of my family—
Bro’ Alpha, Sis’ Delta,
hey, even Lil’ Z.

We’re searching around
in a myriad of valleys.
For siblings that have
all the right personalities.

About the Image: 

The background includes scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images of Manganese Dioxide polymorphs grown by electrochemical deposition.  The overlaid crystal structures shown are Pyrolucite, the ground state structure (right), and Birnessite, the targeted polymorph (left).   The left SEM image shows Turbostratic Birnessite, a morphological variant of Birnessite with higher catalytic activity.

Authors: 
Don Gwinner (NREL), Al Hicks (NREL), Zamlya Chan (Harvard University), John Perkins (NREL)

EFRC: Center for Next Generation of Materials Design (CNGMD)