(6ez) Hybrid Nanomaterials for Energy Harvesting | AIChE

(6ez) Hybrid Nanomaterials for Energy Harvesting


Sahu, A. - Presenter, New York University
Urban, J. - Presenter, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

While inorganic materials have revolutionized the world of electronic applications, polymers and small molecules serve as the workhorses in consumer goods and pharmaceuticals. As we undergo a scientific revolution in energy, these traditional materials, however, are approaching their performance limits; so to meet the inexorable global demand for energy in a clean and sustainable fashion, new materials must be developed. Hybrid materials are an emerging class of compounds that combine classical inorganic and organic components to yield materials that manifest new functionalities unattainable in traditional composites or other related multicomponent materials, which have additive function only. Effective medium theories are widely used to model several physical properties and modes of energy transport in composites. However, the distinctive feature of a truly hybrid material is that material synergies lead to performance that is greater than the sum of its parts, which can happen when there are strong, non-linear interactions between the constituent components. These interactions can give rise to beneficial energy-transport phenomena, such as excited-state charge transfer in photodetectors and photovoltaics. Unfortunately, we still lack a fundamental understanding of the electronic and thermal properties of these hybrid systems especially those comprising of “hard” and “soft materials that would provide a general and robust framework to guide materials design. Given that hybrid nanomaterials have abundant surface areas stemming from their nanoscale dimensions, the “rules of design” governing the synergistic transport properties of these materials are grounded in the fundamental physics and materials science of nanoscale interfaces. These nanoscale interfaces constitute a fascinating scientific realm straddling the quantum and classical regimes where truly new behavior can be engineered by taking advantage of the unique physical and chemical properties as well as unique transport modes of “hard” and “soft” condensed matter. The goals of my research program are to understand and decouple thermal and charge transport in composite systems (inorganic/organic) and elucidate the role of interfaces which would then provide a platform to design and innovate novel material systems through hybrids targeted towards specific energy-relevant applications involving charge, heat, and mass transport. We will design, develop and characterize novel solution processable nanocomposites in order to gain functional understanding and demonstrate how engineering of nanoscale interfaces can drive novel macroscale behavior. We will present a myriad of approaches that are aimed at understanding the fundamental underlying physics of hybrid materials and devising new applications for the same using novel syntheses.