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Expanding Scientific Horizons Through High Field Dynamic Nuclear Polarization

EMSL Project ID


Energy and sustainable development are two of the biggest challenges in the 21st century, and areas that fundamental science can play a critical role in advancing. Decreased reliance on fossil fuels necessarily requires increased understanding leading to advanced materials development in energy storage and chemical transformations. New insights will be obtained through the use of emerging technologies such as high field Dynamic Nuclear Polarization (DNP) Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) in the service of heterogeneous teams containing perspectives from multiple domains. This project seeks to leverage the first commercially available high field DNP-NMR in North America to act as a nucleation agent for cross domain teams seeking fundamental knowledge that leads to new and/or enhanced understanding relevant to the energy sector. An area of intense focus will be on characterizing interfaces, which can be quite challenging to study. Specific areas of study include the solid-electrolyte interface (SEI) in battery materials, surface hydration spheres within the electric double layer (an interface between metal oxide surface and bulk water), initial nucleation events on solid-phase materials in the presence of water/solvent and single atom catalyst interactions with substrate and analyte. Although these areas of research are under robust and extensive investigations by their respective communities, the use of DNP-NMR has had little impact due to the lack of availability to the researchers. The complexity, low analyte concentrations and little foreknowledge of anticipated outcomes lends risk to this project, both from a fundamental science perspective but also from perceived expectations of outcomes. These risks will be managed in an agile manner reflective of the nascent status of the technology, expertise and collaborations fomented through the Collaboratory, a hub of research excellence grounded in the world class capabilities offered at the Energy Sciences Center (ESC) at PNNL.

Project Details

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Principal Investigator

Nancy Washton
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Team Members

Sean Najmi
Georgia Institute of Technology

Ying Chen
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Eric Walter
Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory

Vijayakumar Murugesan
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Jian-zhi Hu
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory