Argonne National Laboratory Center for Nanoscale Materials U.S. Department of Energy

Manipulation of Nanoscale Materials for Energy & Information Transduction

Nanoscale materials absorb, dissipate, and propagate energy very differently from bulk materials. These properties offer unusual opportunities to induce, optimize, and control the conversion and transfer of energy and information at the nanoscale. The CNM applies recent advances in materials, theory, and characterization to create novel nanoscale materials for the control and transfer of energy, charge, and/or spin between homogeneous and heterogeneous materials.

Propagation, Localization, and Interaction of Spin, Charge, Photons, and Phonons

Realizing the promise of nanoscience hinges on the ability to understand and ultimately control the propagation of, localization of, and interaction between the basic quanta of energy and information — spin, charge, photons, and phonons — at the nanoscale. Key factors include continued advances in generating homogeneous nanoscale building blocks, finding means to hierarchically assemble the building blocks, and advanced scanning probe or other techniques for precisely initiating and monitoring propagation of these quanta at the nanoscale.

Addressability and Control

To realize useful energy transduction and information processing, it is necessary to manipulate energy flow in nanostructured materials with spatial and temporal selectivity. The CNM is uniquely positioned to contribute to this research through controlled synthesis, advanced proximal probes (STM, NSOM) and the generation of high-quality, hybrid nanomaterials, coupled with self-assembly expertise to create nanomaterials with long-range order.

Manipulation of Coherent Processes

Exploiting the coherence of collective material excitations such as plasmons, excitons, and phonons in nanoscale materials is critical for optimizing energy transduction and manipulating information. Finding ways to produce coherent coupling between different material excitations offers the means to produce wholly new electronic and optical states that provide new energy flow pathways in nanostructures that are not available in bulk materials. This in turn directs processes of charge separation and recombination that control the efficiency of energy transduction.

Controlling Chemical Reactivity

The CNM has specific unique strengths in the design and synthesis of active nanomaterials and their assemblies. Fabrication of individual building blocks, while a critical step on the path to next-generation materials, is only a starting point. Our combined aptitude in modeling, top-down patterning, and bottom-up self-organization of rationally designed polymeric, inorganic, and hybrid composite materials as well as their application for energy-relevant processes represents the future of this field.

carbon nanotube FET
Carbon nanotube FET and near-IR emission. [Zaumseil et al., ACS Nano, 3, 2225 (2009)]

materials for transduction assemblies
Materials for transduction assemblies created within the NanoBio Interfaces Group


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