Functional Material for Energy

These are exciting times for scientists and engineers in materials science and nanotechnology. Continuous advances in nanofabrication, synthesis and self-assembly of nanoscale materials architectures now allow us to control the flow of light, to control charge carrier dynamics, and phonon excitations. By combining nanoscale building blocks - one at a time - low-dimensional materials allow us to create so-called metamaterials, materials with properties that cannot be found in nature. Rice University is known worldwide for its pioneering role in many of these developments. A large group of committed students and faculty are working towards a profound understanding of novel nanomaterials, and their application to solve the energy problem. Recent achievements include the creation of vertically stacked two-dimensional materials or in-plane heterostructures of two-dimensional materials. These atomically engineered metamaterials allow for the fundamental study of quantum effects and their exploitation in energy applications. The Rice Center for Quantum Materials will foster interdisciplinary collaborations between experimentalists and theorists in the sciences and engineering to create state-of-the art nanomaterials and device architectures and to characterize their fundamental properties.

Areas of interest include the exploitation of quantum effects in low-dimensional materials to control chemical reactions at their surfaces, the atomic-scale engineering of photocatalysts for solar fuel generation, and the study of quantum effects in photocatalysis that arise from the granularity of the electromagnetic fields on atomic scales. Our center is also at the forefront of developing novel ultrafast laser spectroscopy techniques and nano-characterization tools to gain enhanced insights into quantum materials for energy and sustainability. Researchers in the center have significant experience in transferring fundamental science into energy applications ranging from solar energy conversion, energy storage, thermal management and environmental remediation. By concentrating this expertise, RCQM will create a stimulating environment that will inspire new classes of applications in energy and sustainability.