Argonne National Laboratory

The goal of this theme is to utilize the CNM’s expertise in computational modeling, synthesis, and advanced characterization to accelerate the discovery, research and development of nanoscale platforms for a clean and sustainable energy future.

Individual Thrusts


Thrust One

Energy Storage. Our goal for this area is to utilize our expertise in predictive modeling, synthesis, processing, and characterization to advance fundamental understanding of batteries and energy storage platforms to directly impact real-world technology. The CNM utilizes state-of-the-art instrumentation including advanced transmission electron microscopy and synchrotron-based nanoscale X-ray probing to explore structural characterization of battery materials and interfaces. The center is performing groundbreaking research aimed towards the optimization and realization of next-generation energy storage systems that include calcium and sodium ion batteries. Newly developed techniques are being implemented for operando single particle research to study the morphological evolution of anode materials in solid state batteries. The CNM is heavily invested in the discovery and research of novel materials for cathode, anode and electrolytes, and multiscale understanding of structural effects and their impact on the performance of energy storage materials.


Thrust Two

Energy Capture and Conversion. Our goal for this area is to collaboratively pioneer advancements in solar, photocatalysis, electrocatalysis, and energy conversion to elucidate fundamental understanding needed to advance and optimize our ability to harvest and convert clean energy. Leveraging the center's unique capabilities, we can explore novel perovskite materials and precisely determine how doping impacts the photoluminescent yield and local carrier generation using correlated synchrotron x-ray microscopy. The CNM is leading research and development of environmentally friendly platforms for photocatalytic energy conversion that utilizes biological entities combined with inorganic materials to capture light and generate hydrogen gas through water splitting. We are actively pursuing an atomistic understanding of catalytic behaviors for energy conversion. Through advanced synthesis and characterization, the CNM is developing unique nanoscale materials, such as high entropy alloy, core-shell systems for electro- and photocatalysis along with light-gated protocells that trigger the biosynthesis of energy-storage molecules.


Thrust Three

Nanoscience for a Circular Carbon Economy. Our goal for this area is to leverage material, chemical, and biological sciences to further understand and exploit the relationship between nanoscale structure and local environments aimed towards carbon capture, conversion, and upcycling. The CNM combines advanced computational modeling with novel material synthesis and state-of-the-art characterization to develop nanoporous membranes for chemical upcycling and conversion, single-atom catalysis, inorganic and bio-inspired platforms for CO2 reduction, and exploration of polymer upcycling. We are engineering biological pathways with man-made materials for semi-artificial photosynthetic carbon conversion and designing peptide nanostructures for the development of novel supramolecular bioelectronic materials. The CNM is developing unique capabilities to gain further understanding of low-dimensional materials engineered for carbon capture and for hydrogen storage platforms. Furthermore, we are starting novel forward-looking programs to mitigate CO2 emissions through designer catalytic processes for H2 production, storage, and transportation by combining nanomaterial synthesis, structural characterization, performance evaluation, and computational simulations.