"Learning how to think like a scientist comes from mentorship; learning to think like a creative and well-informed scientist comes from great mentorship." Discover how scientists help train the next generation of scientists at the nation’s Energy Frontier Research Centers...Read more
Six Energy Frontier Research Center directors share what it takes to do energy research that could change the world...
Laurent Karim Beland
New material could help nuclear energy reuse, reduce, recycle…
Capturing the molecules you want can be difficult; releasing them easily can be impossible. Now, with a new light-triggered molecule…
Bright. Shiny. Slow. Copper causes problems for those designing longer lasting batteries. New design criteria could be key…
Stacking silicon and chromium layers lets batteries’ capacity climb…
Robert L. Sacci
Understanding the miniscule layer around a supercapacitor’s electrode might mean the difference between driving on the freeway or the back roads…
While devising a way to measure an electrode’s ability to let light and electrons pass, scientists made an interesting discovery about lithium…
Protecting extremely small particles with remarkable properties from oxygen’s damaging effects could help solar cells see wider use. Learn how scientists are making it happen…
Walking alone in the morning can be freeing, with time to think and go at your own pace, but when you add a friend or two, the experience changes. You work a bit harder to keep up, you share ideas about the best routes, and, sometimes, you have a lot more fun. This issue showcases the benefits of working together at the Energy Frontier Research Centers.
At each center, researchers mentor the next generation of scientists. Established scientists help those new to the field with everything from understanding the research question being asked to the intricacies of budgets to writing articles. Mentoring, done right, is a solid investment in the future of scientific discovery and the people who make it possible.
Building and maintaining a collaborative environment that fosters mentoring and groundbreaking research takes a director with strong vision, drive, and dedication. In this issue, we feature a conversation with six EFRC directors on the challenges and benefits of their job. Several of the directors are leading newly established centers.
Collaboration has led to outstanding materials that can benefit everything from massive nuclear reactors to tiny sensors powered by solar cells. Examples include materials that can separate uranium from used fuel rods without generating millions of gallons of waste and materials that can separate or release chemicals based on the flick of a light switch.
EFRC scientists have looked at materials and reactions behind today's and tomorrow's energy storage devices. They determined the chemistry behind a frustrating phenomenon linked to the failure of lithium-ion batteries in cell phones and laptop computers. They also discovered ion behavior that could, one day, be manipulated to build long-lasting batteries and energy-dense supercapacitors for powering electric vehicles and storing intermittent wind and solar energy. Also, they devised a way to study electrodes inside working batteries, and using this technique, they built an electrode that conducts electricity and transmits light.
While light is not a problem for the tiny dots of materials used in some solar cells, oxygen is. The materials are highly efficient, but they must be manufactured in an oxygen-free environment. Researchers devised an armor coating for the particles, opening the door to broader solar cell use.
Working together, scientists are pushing the frontiers of energy science, while building connections and launching careers that could have an impact on energy research for decades to come.
- Laurent Karim Béland, Energy Dissipation to Defect Evolution Center
- Kathryn Fixen, Center for Biological Electron Transfer and Catalysis
- Tyler Josephson, Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation
- Ashley Marshall, Center for Advanced Solar Photophysics
- Michelle Personick, Integrated Materials for Sustainable Catalysis Center
- Nicholas Quackenbush, Northeast Center for Chemical Energy Storage
- Robert L. Sacci, Fluid Interface Reactions, Structures and Transport Center
- Ryan Stolley, Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis
- Liezel Labios, Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis
Friend of the Board
- Ralph House, Center for Solar Fuels