Research
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Mission
Pennergy unites researchers to create fundamental scientific understanding and technological solutions that enable the development of new alternative-energy sources and improves energy capture, conversion and use, while disseminating knowledge and educating an energy-aware community.

Alternative-Energy Sources
Pennergy builds on strengths in the design, synthesis, fabrication, characterization, modeling, and device integration of novel nanostructured materials that direct the flow of energy and the transfer and transport of charge at the level of electrons and the dimensions of atoms. Pennergy researchers have made seminal contributions to the construction and assembly of single and multi-component nanoparticles and nanowires; molecular, supramolecular, and polymeric materials; as well as forming interfaces between hard and soft nanomaterials. The Center brings together leading groups in bio-mimetic energy research, translating Nature’s energy schemes into systems capable of meeting today’s and tomorrow’s energy needs. Researchers develop novel processes to prepare and integrate materials in energy conversion devices.

Efficient Energy Use
We focus both on new architectures and physical phenomena for energy conversion and on fundamental challenges in materials stability under real operating conditions that is necessary to transform future energy technologies. We are expert in understanding and developing solutions to address the behavior of materials subject to interactions with chemicals, electric fields, radiation, heat, and mechanical forces. Pennergy researchers design nano- photonic, mechanic, and electronic devices to reduce the energy demand for computation and communication. We explore novel nanostructured materials and their devices to capture and convert waste heat into usable energy.

Core Cross-Cutting Strengths
Pennergy integrates in situ electron microscopies with spatially-, time-, and spin-resolved optical spectroscopies and electrical measurements to probe the collective electronic, optical, chemical, thermal, physical, and mechanical phenomena that arise in all these systems to address key questions in energy supply and demand. Pennergy combines capabilities in innovative analytical techniques and multi-scale modeling that capture structure-property relationships at the relevant length and time scales that guide both the design of materials, interfaces, and devices and the interpretation of physical measurements. This forms a tight integration between materials synthesis and processing, device fabrication, measurement, and computation that provide a multi-disciplinary team to address grand challenges to move beyond observation-based science to rational control over energy materials and devices.

Pennergy creates solutions for today and for tomorrow.  The Center cultivates partnerships with industries and with national laboratories to improve the efficiency of present and near-term future energy solutions, while pioneering the breakthroughs to enable next-generation energy innovative solutions. Pennergy develops educational programs for our students  and reaches out to our community.

Pennergy faculty bring the competencies to address grand challenges in solar-to-electric and solar-to-fuel conversion, in fuel cells, in thermoelectrics, in hydrogen storage, and in the stability of materials subject to extreme environments. Faculty are expert in the design of low-power computation and communication devices. The overarching goal of the Center is to advance materials and device design and to develop the fundamental understanding necessary to realize clean, renewable, and cost-competitive energy sources and low-power devices to reduce energy demand.