Enabling and Disrupting Impacts of Interfaces in Energy Systems
Recent advances allow us to manipulate, control, and measure local phenomena at nanometer scales. Size dependent behavior of solids has become the hallmark of nanoscale science and nanotechnology. As systems decrease in size, the influence of surfaces and interfaces can dominate theproperties. In fact, properties of surfaces and interfaces dictate the behavior of devices ranging from biosensors to solar cells to computer processors. This is particularly true as the size of the constituents decreases.
This talk will present three model examples of behavior at interfaces that have dramatic consequences to energy systems and that also illustrate novel measurements of local properties. The first involves size dependent electronic properties of metal-oxide interfaces, an important issue in device miniaturization. The second demonstrates how engineered interfaces in nanoparticle arrays yield new plasmonic interactions useful in energy harvesting. The final example illustrates how mechanisms of mass and energy exchange at interfaces in fuel cells can be determined from in situ local probes.