Postdoctoral Research Opportunities
(1) Thermoelectrics and other Energy Conversion Materials
(Research opportunity No. 50.64.31.B6767)
Currently, a major challenge for the US economy is to provide inexpensive, efficient, compact, safe, and environmentally-friendly technologies for energy generation and conversion. Thermoelectric materials enable the direct conversion between thermal and electrical energy through the Seebeck and Peltier effects. Thermoelectric materials are currently undergoing a renaissance and are poised for large-scale applications. Recent improvements in thermoelectric conversion efficiency have made these materials attractive to the automotive industry for waste heat recovery applications, as well as in the environmental arena for reliable solid-state refrigeration, since no moving parts are involved. Specific research activities include (1) structure and property (Seebeck coefficient, electrical resistivity, and thermal conductivity) measurements and phase equilibria studies of novel thermoelectric materials, (2) development of a novel method for high-temperature Seebeck coefficient measurements, (3) deposition of combinatorial thin film libraries using a state-of-the-art sputtering-pulsed laser tool, and (4) utilization of NIST first-in-world high throughput techniques for mapping Seebeck coefficient and electricity resistivity. The thermoelectric materials may be quantum dots, thin films, single crystals, or bulk metals, alloys or oxides. Opportunities exist to investigate other materials and devices and develop additional high-throughput methods for batteries, photovoltaics, photocatalysis, super-capacitors, and sustainable energy.
(2) Carbon (CO2) Capture Materials
(Research opportunity No. 50.64.31.B7417)
Global warming is at least partially attributable to increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. The increased levels are of anthropogenic origin, mostly from coal-fired electrical power generation plants. Capture of the CO2 as it is emitted from the flue is one viable scheme to address this enormous environmental problem. The goal of this project is the highly efficient and inexpensive capture of CO2 using solid sorbent materials such as zeolites and metal-organic-framework (MOF) materials. Crucial factors for understanding the absorption efficiency of these materials are their chemical and physical reactivity with CO2, and their pore structure. The experimental work in this project will include the use of neutron and synchrotron beamline techniques such as neutron diffraction, synchrotron X-ray absorption spectroscopy, and small angle X-ray and neutron scattering, including non-ambient studies. Such techniques will enable in-situ, real-time measurements of the structure of sorbents, pore interconnectivity, pore structure, CO2 distribution, and local absorbate/ CO2 bonding structure.
(1) American Ceramic Society (ACerS)
(2) American Crystallographic Association (ACA)
(3) US National Committee for Crystallography (USNC/Cr)
(4) International Centre for Diffraction Data (ICDD)
(5) Applied Superconductivity Conference (ASC)
(6) Boise State University
Significant contributions from the above record are a collection of phase diagrams of complex multi-component ceramic systems and crystal structures for materials processing; structure and property correlations of materials for electronic, energy, and carbon mitigation applications; standard reference data and materials for phase analysis and instrument calibration; modeling work for understanding materials behaviors; and high throughput thin film screening techniques for novel materials discovery.