MSE Seminar Series: Brian Pate
Friday, October 21, 2011
Room 2110 Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Bldg.
301 405 5240
Electrochemical Gradient Materials for Energy Conversion & Enhancement of Chemical & Biological Defense Technologies
Physical Scientist, Science & Technology Manager
Joint Science & Technology Office for Chemical & Biological Defense
Defense Threat Reduction Agency
The Defense Threat Reduction Agencys Chemical and Biological Technologies Directorate (DTRA CB) functions as the Joint Science & Technology Office for Chemical and Biological Defense (JSTO), which was established in 2003 to manage and integrate the Chemical and Biological Defense S&T portfolio. Its purpose was to develop scientific knowledge and technical solutions to reduce the chemical and biological threat to the military and the Nation. Advances in science and technology, as well as the broadening of JSTOs charge to encompass whole-of-government capabilities that contribute to DoDs role in the safety of the American civilian population, has led to an expansion of the JSTO mission space. Accordingly, this expanded mission space compels us to look beyond current approaches and proactively seek out and nurture innovations in expanded performer bases, actively manage technology development, and transition actionable technologies and solutions to the warfighter. Materials science functions within the JSTO mission space as a key enabler spanning strategic thrusts that include disease surveillance and diagnosis, threat detection and reporting, adaptive countermeasures, and rapid response and restoration. A review of current and recent past JSTO-funded efforts in the basic science of multifunctional materials reveal a focus on dynamic, selective, responsive systems, as well as foci on transport diffusivity and adsorption, molecular recognition and catalysis, and novel analytical methodology. Many examples draw inspiration from biology.
Materials scientists, of course, also draw inspiration from one another, and from the efforts of other agencies and institutions to foster research with the stated goal of improving the efficiency of energy conversion and storage. To this end, preliminary results will be presented from a fledgling attempt to modify polaron mobility via materials design, with a focus on electrochemical copolymers exhibiting a gradient in electron binding energy. The proposal, in essence, is to leverage recent metallurgical methods for electrodeposition of alloys of controlled composition, in order to establish novel electrochemistry enabling the controlled growth of electroactive copolymers of nitrogen- and sulfur-containing heterocycles at specific electrode interfaces. Characterization of these reactions and the resulting films is being driven by electronic structure calculations, and it is hoped that the effort will result in the establishment of correlations between composition, structure, morphology, optical absorption, and polaron mobility.