Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory

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Fundamental Structure-Property Relationships Governing the Electrochemical Activity of Epitaxial Heterostructures

Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Principal Investigator: 
Scott Chambers
Lead Institution: 
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Closed Date: 
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Project ID: 

Complex oxides have the widest range of properties of any class of materials explored to date. However, with many degrees of freedom come many possible outcomes. Consequently, controlled synthesis of oxide materials, and ultimately achieving atomic precision, constitute grand challenges in materials science. Thin-film heterointerface formation is an ideal way to synthesize artificially structured materials that cannot be made by bulk methods, enabling fundamental understanding and new functionalities. Accordingly, we will uncover the relationships that exist between synthetic pathways and subsequent electron-hole pair creation, propagation and lifetime, relevant to solar energy conversion, using an integrated experimental and theoretical approach. A long-term goal is to understand the role of defects and disorder: how and why defects form along specific reaction pathways, how defects influence system properties, and how defects can be harnessed to enable new, robust functionalities and states of matter. Materials of interest will be synthesized using oxygen assisted molecular beam epitaxy, and characterized using in situ and ex situ techniques. By complementing experiments with state-of-the-art computational modeling, we will elucidate the intricate relationships between composition, structure, defect creation, kinetics of formation, and ground and excited state functional properties. Electronic, optical, photochemical and electrochemical properties will be measured and interpreted in light of materials models based on atomistic understanding. Revealing these relationships paves the way for effective and scientifically informed synthesis of complex oxides and underpins their use in solar energy harvesting and conversion