Accelerating Materials Discovery
For decades there has been an identified need to develop new materials that facilitate a clean-energy future, yet billions of dollars of private and government-sector investment have failed to tip the needle toward an energy economy in which clean and renewable energy dominates supply. Put simply, the throughput of research in materials design and screening has not delivered advances at a rate commensurate with increasing global energy consumption. The deployment of clean energy technologies need to be accelerated at least 10-fold. Our group is connecting artificial intelligence with automation to accelerate materials science discovery and translation with the mission of completely transforming how materials research is done.
Thin-film organic and perovskite solar cells can convert sunlight to electricity with efficiencies in excess of 20%, but suffer from stability and manufacturing issues. Our program has developed the design principles for making the light-harvesting component of organic solar cells more durable. The next phase of our program is to explore solid-state hole transport materials (HTMs) that are not susceptible to leaking, evaporation, or freezing. We are leveraging our artificial intelligence and automation platform to rapidly develop HTM films with superior conductivity and durability for the next generation of solar cells.
Energy Storage and CO2 utilization
The efficient conversion of sunlight into electricity is not the complete answer to the impending energy crisis - we need to be able to store and transport energy and mitigate the negative environmental impact of current energy production methods. Our group is interested in two processes that address these challenges: solar-driven water electrolysis to produce clean hydrogen fuels; and the electrolytic conversion of waste CO2 into carbon-based fuels and chemicals. The mechanistic insights we gain on water splitting and CO2 reduction are combined with our engineering expertise in pursuit of efficient, selective, stable electrolyzers that can be commercially deployed to disrupt the economics of clean energy technologies.