Research Areas

Separation Science

This program accepts and reviews proposals continuously under the annual FOA entitled, “Continuation of Solicitation for the Office of Science Financial Assistance Program.pdf file (377KB)”. However, new proposals must be received by December 15, 2017, to be guaranteed consideration for funding in fiscal year 2018. Preproposals or white papers are strongly encouraged for all new proposals and should be submitted through PAMS well in advance. Notice: the emphasis of this program has changed to separation science. Research in chemical analysis is being deemphasized, but analysis proposals that fit the objectives of specific programs may be considered by such programs.  Please contact the program managers prior to submission of preproposals or proposals.

Thematically, fundamental research funded in this program involves studies of Chemistry at Complex Interfaces, Charge Transport and Reactivity, Reaction Pathways in Diverse Environments, Chemistry in Aqueous Environments and Ultrafast Chemistry.  More specifically, this program supports fundamental research to predict and control the atomic and molecular interactions and energy exchanges determining the efficiency of chemical separations. This basic research is motivated by a desire to advance discovery and predictive design of future chemical separations utilizing novel, multifunctional, and/or energy- and atom-efficient methods; as well as the development and investigation of novel structures with the desired nano-, meso-, and macroscopic functionalities and dynamic and transport properties. Research topics include, but are not limited to: the structural and molecular dynamics of elementary separation steps at complex solid-fluid interfaces utilizing fast and ultrafast spectroscopy; the influence of nanoscale environments, such as ligands, electrolytes, confining structures, hybrid membranes, solvation or ionic spheres, etc., on separation mechanisms and kinetics at the molecular level; the role of amorphous, disordered, and non-equilibrium heterogeneous structures in separation mechanisms and efficiency; ultraselective separations in diverse aqueous environments (acid/base, saline, high T);  reactive and non-reactive separations involving charge transport, complex mixtures and complex interfaces, and non-traditional solvents such as ionic liquids and deep eutectic solvents; the influence of electromagnetic or other fields affecting transport and bonding of charged or neutral species; and the mechanisms of energy absorption and dissipation in separating systems. A range of multidisciplinary experimental, theoretical and computational basic research approaches are employed, inspired by the multidimensional and time-dependent complexity of chemical separation problems.

Research that is responsive to the report on Basic Research Needs for Environmental Management.pdf file (5.4MB), and in particular, speciation and reactivity of non-equilibrium separation systems, is well-aligned with the goals of this program. Also well aligned are separation science topics addressing the Basic Research Needs reports on Energy and Water.pdf file (2.0MB) and Future Nuclear Energy.pdf file (935KB). However, research focused on understanding the chemical and physical properties of actinide and transactinide elements is better covered under the BES Heavy Element Chemistry Program.

The Separation Science: activity does not support applied research, engineering or scale up of processes, mineral or materials processing, devices or sensors, microfluidics, or research directed toward medical or analytical applications. The program does not support the synthesis or testing of separations materials as the main goal, as such is covered under other core research areas.

To obtain more information about this research area, please see our Core Research Area descriptions, and the proceedings of our Principal Investigators' Meetings. To better understand how this research area fits within the Department of Energy's Office of Science, please refer to the Basic Energy Science's organization chart.pdf file (131KB) and budget request.

For more information about this research area, please contact Dr. Philip Wilk or Dr. Charles Peden.

Last modified: 11/2/2017 12:28:43 AM