ANSER - About Us
Mission: Technologies for Solar Fuels & Electricity
The mission of the Argonne-Northwestern Solar Energy Research (ANSER) Center is to revolutionize our understanding of molecules, materials and methods necessary to create dramatically more efficient technologies for solar fuels and electricity production. ANSER will realize this vision by understanding and characterizing the basic phenomena of solar energy conversion dynamics, by designing and synthesizing new nanoscale and mesoscale architectures with extraordinary functionality, and by linking basic solar energy conversion phenomena across time and space to create emergent energy conversion systems operating with exceptional performance. Concurrently, the ANSER Center remains committed to creating and mentoring a technically excellent workforce capable of solving energy-related problems far into the future.
Objective: Fundamental Understanding
Question 1: How can multi-scale predictive theory and computational modeling lead to the design and discovery of novel organic, inorganic, and hybrid systems?
Question 2: How do molecular and materials structure and order determine the efficiency of light capture, charge separation, and long-range charge transport?
Question 3: What are the fundamental multi-scale temporal and spatial requirements for efficient charge transport across interfaces to deliver multiple redox equivalents to catalysts and electrodes?
Question 4: How can molecular and materials properties be tailored to exploit hierarchical assembly for solar fuels and electricity systems scalable for the nanoscale to the mesoscale?
Properties of unique materials, from self-assembling, bio-inspired materials for hydrogen fuel production from water to transparent conductors, and nanostructured hard and soft materials for solar electricity generation
Beyond the extensive facilities available in laboratories of ANSER Center members, the participating institutions below bring substantial collateral resources that strengthen ANSER Center programs.
- The Argonne Advanced Photon Source (APS): a third-generation synchrotron hard x-ray source providing unprecedented brilliance and photon flux for state-of-the-art time-resolved structural characterization
- The Northwestern Materials Research Science and Engineering Center
- The Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center
- The Northwestern Integrated Molecular Structure Education and Research Center (IMSERC)
- The Northwestern Atomic- and Nanoscale Characterization and Experimental Center (NUANCE): electron microscopy, scanning probe microscopy, and nanoscale fabrication
- The Argonne Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM): a DOE user facility providing state-of-the-art nanofabrication and characterization capabilities
- Institute for Environmental Catalysis
- National Center for Learning and Teaching in Nanoscale Science and Engineering (NCLT): an outreach program to the science education community; participants include Argonne, Michigan, UIC, UIUC, Purdue, Morehouse, Alabama A&M, Fisk, and U. of Texas at El Paso as primary partners
- New Laboratory for Optical and Magnetic Spectroscopy at Northwestern
- Multilayer deposition by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) at CNM
- Metal organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) and atomic layer deposition (ALD) at Northwestern and Argonne
- X-ray nanoprobe: a major new facility at CNM that focuses high intensity x-rays to <30 nm, allowing the local structure and spectroscopy of nanoscale architectures to be examined in detail
- Spin Echo Resolved Grazing Incidence Scattering (SERGIS) at the Argonne Materials Science Division: a new approach to probing large-scale (1-20 nm) surface structures, providing 1000x greater sensitivity for membrane structural analysis
- Institutional Resources: collaborations with the Institute for Environmental Catalysis (IEC) at Northwestern/Argonne, e.g. in applying bio-enzyme catalytic principles to hard materials