History

Grand Challenges

The Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (BESAC) report, Directing Matter and Energy: Five Challenges for Science and the Imagination was the culmination of a series of  BES-sponsored workshops that began in 2001. Over and over, the recommendations from these workshops described similar themes that in this new era of science, we would design, discover, and synthesize new materials and molecular assemblies through atomic scale control; probe and control photon, phonon, electron, and ion interactions with matter; perform multi-scale modeling that bridges the multiple length and time scales; and use the collective efforts of condensed matter and materials physicists, chemists, biologists, molecular engineers, and those skilled in applied mathematics and computer science. The roadblocks to progress, and the opportunities for truly transformational new understanding were distilled into five interelated grand challenges. Each Energy Frontier Research Center addresses one or more of these grand challenges.


GC1: Control Electrons

Grand Challenge #1: How do we control materials processes at the level of electrons?

Direct manipulation of the charge, spin, and dynamics of electrons to control and imitate the behavior of physical, chemical and biological systems, such as digital memory and logic using a single electron spin, the pathways of chemical reactions and the strength of chemical bonds, and efficient conversion of the Sun's energy into fuel through artificial photosynthesis.

Years Lead Institution Director(s) Center Name
2009-2014 Louisiana State University James Spivey Center for Atomic-Level Catalyst Design (CALCD)
2009-2014 Arizona State University Devens Gust Center for Bio-Inspired Solar Fuel Production (BISfuel)
2009-2014 University of Virginia T. Brent Gunnoe Center for Catalytic Hydrocarbon Functionalization (CCHF)
2009-2014 Oak Ridge National Laboratory G. Malcolm Stocks Center for Defect Physics in Structural Materials (CDP)
2009-2014 General Electric Global Research Grigorii Soloveichik Center for Electrocatalysis, Transport Phenomena and Materials for Innovative Energy Storage (CETM)
2009-2014 University of California, Santa Barbara John Bowers Center for Energy Efficient Materials (CEEM)
2009-2014 University of Southern California P. Daniel Dapkus Center for Energy Nanoscience (CEN)
2009-2014 National Renewable Energy Laboratory Alex Zunger (8/2009 - 5/2011); William Tumas (6/2011 - 7/2014) Center for Inverse Design (CID)
2009-2014 University of Michigan Peter F. Green Center for Solar and Thermal Energy Conversion (CSTEC)
2009-2014 Stanford University Fritz Prinz and Stacey Bent Center on Nanostructuring for Efficient Energy Conversion (CNEEC)
2009-2014 Sandia National Laboratories Jerry Simmons (8/2009 - 10/2011); Michael E. Coltrin (11/2011 - 7/2014) EFRC for Solid State Lighting Science (SSLS)
2009-2014 Cornell University Hector D. Abruna Energy Materials Center at Cornell (emc2)
2009-2014 Argonne National Laboratory Christopher L. Marshall Institute for Atom-Efficient Chemical Transformations (IACT)
2009-2014 University of California, Los Angeles Vidvuds Ozolins Molecularly Engineered Energy Materials (MEEM)
2009-2014 Columbia University James Yardley Re-Defining Photovoltaic Efficiency Through Molecule Scale Control (RPEMSC)
2009-2014 Michigan State University Donald T. Morelli Revolutionary Materials for Solid State Energy Conversion (RMSSEC)
2009-2014 University of Texas, Austin Paul Barbara (8/2009 - 10/2010); Xiaoyang Zhu (11/2010 - 5/2012); Peter Rossky (6/2012 - 7/2014) Understanding Charge Separation and Transfer at Interfaces in Energy Materials (CST)

GC2: Tailored Properties

Grand Challenge #2: How do we design and perfect atom- and energy-efficient synthesis of revolutionary new forms of matter with tailored properties?

Create and manipulate natural and synthetic systems that will enable catalysts that are specific and produce no unwanted byproducts, or materials that operate at the theoretical limits of strength and fracture resistance, or that respond to their environments and repair themselves like those in living systems.

Years Lead Institution Director(s) Center Name
2009-2014 Louisiana State University James Spivey Center for Atomic-Level Catalyst Design (CALCD)
2009-2014 Arizona State University Devens Gust Center for Bio-Inspired Solar Fuel Production (BISfuel)
2009-2014 University of Virginia T. Brent Gunnoe Center for Catalytic Hydrocarbon Functionalization (CCHF)
2009-2014 General Electric Global Research Grigorii Soloveichik Center for Electrocatalysis, Transport Phenomena and Materials for Innovative Energy Storage (CETM)
2009-2014 University of California, Santa Barbara John Bowers Center for Energy Efficient Materials (CEEM)
2009-2014 University of Southern California P. Daniel Dapkus Center for Energy Nanoscience (CEN)
2009-2014 University of Arizona Neal R. Armstrong Center for Interface Science: Solar Electric Materials (CISSEM)
2009-2014 National Renewable Energy Laboratory Alex Zunger (8/2009 - 5/2011); William Tumas (6/2011 - 7/2014) Center for Inverse Design (CID)
2009-2014 Los Alamos National Laboratory Michael Nastasi (8/2009 - 11/2011); Amit Misra (12/2011 - 7/2014) Center for Materials at Irradiation and Mechanical Extremes (CMIME)
2009-2014 Idaho National Laboratory Dieter Wolf (9/2009 - 5/2010); Todd Allen (6/2010 - 7/2014) Center for Materials Science of Nuclear Fuel (CMSNF)
2009-2014 University of Michigan Peter F. Green Center for Solar and Thermal Energy Conversion (CSTEC)
2009-2014 Stanford University Fritz Prinz and Stacey Bent Center on Nanostructuring for Efficient Energy Conversion (CNEEC)
2009-2014 Sandia National Laboratories Jerry Simmons (8/2009 - 10/2011); Michael E. Coltrin (11/2011 - 7/2014) EFRC for Solid State Lighting Science (SSLS)
2009-2014 Cornell University Hector D. Abruna Energy Materials Center at Cornell (emc2)
2009-2014 University of South Carolina Kenneth Reifsnider Heterogeneous Functional Materials Center (HeteroFoaM)
2009-2014 Argonne National Laboratory Christopher L. Marshall Institute for Atom-Efficient Chemical Transformations (IACT)
2009-2014 University of California, Los Angeles Vidvuds Ozolins Molecularly Engineered Energy Materials (MEEM)
2009-2014 University of Massachusetts Thomas P. Russell and Paul Lahti Polymer-Based Materials for Harvesting Solar Energy (PHaSE)
2009-2014 Columbia University James Yardley Re-Defining Photovoltaic Efficiency Through Molecule Scale Control (RPEMSC)
2009-2014 Michigan State University Donald T. Morelli Revolutionary Materials for Solid State Energy Conversion (RMSSEC)
2009-2014 University of Texas, Austin Paul Barbara (8/2009 - 10/2010); Xiaoyang Zhu (11/2010 - 5/2012); Peter Rossky (6/2012 - 7/2014) Understanding Charge Separation and Transfer at Interfaces in Energy Materials (CST)

GC3: Emergent Properties

Grand Challenge #3: How do remarkable properties of matter emerge from complex correlations of the atomic or electronic constituents and how can we control these properties?

Orchestrate the behavior of billions of electrons and atoms to create new phenomena, like superconductivity at room temperature, or new states of matter, like quantum spin liquids, or new functionality combining contradictory properties like super-strong yet highly flexible polymers, or optically transparent yet highly conducting glasses, or membranes that separate CO2 from atmospheric gases yet maintain high throughput.

Years Lead Institution Director(s) Center Name
2009-2014 Arizona State University Devens Gust Center for Bio-Inspired Solar Fuel Production (BISfuel)
2009-2014 University of California, Santa Barbara John Bowers Center for Energy Efficient Materials (CEEM)
2009-2014 University of Southern California P. Daniel Dapkus Center for Energy Nanoscience (CEN)
2009-2014 University of Michigan Peter F. Green Center for Solar and Thermal Energy Conversion (CSTEC)
2009-2014 Princeton University Chung K. Law Combustion Energy Frontier Research Center (CEFRC)
2009-2014 Sandia National Laboratories Jerry Simmons (8/2009 - 10/2011); Michael E. Coltrin (11/2011 - 7/2014) EFRC for Solid State Lighting Science (SSLS)
2009-2014 Cornell University Hector D. Abruna Energy Materials Center at Cornell (emc2)
2009-2014 University of South Carolina Kenneth Reifsnider Heterogeneous Functional Materials Center (HeteroFoaM)
2009-2014 Argonne National Laboratory Christopher L. Marshall Institute for Atom-Efficient Chemical Transformations (IACT)
2009-2014 University of California, Los Angeles Vidvuds Ozolins Molecularly Engineered Energy Materials (MEEM)

GC4: Nanotechnology

Grand Challenge #4: How can we master energy and information on the nanoscale to create new technologies with capabilities rivaling those of living things?

Master energy and information on the nanoscale, leading to the development of new metabolic and self-replicating pathways in living and non-living systems, self-repairing artificial photosynthetic machinery, precision measurement tools as in molecular rulers, and defect-tolerent electronic circuits.

Years Lead Institution Director(s) Center Name
2009-2014 Arizona State University Devens Gust Center for Bio-Inspired Solar Fuel Production (BISfuel)
2009-2014 University of California, Santa Barbara John Bowers Center for Energy Efficient Materials (CEEM)
2009-2014 University of Southern California P. Daniel Dapkus Center for Energy Nanoscience (CEN)
2009-2014 University of Arizona Neal R. Armstrong Center for Interface Science: Solar Electric Materials (CISSEM)
2009-2014 Stanford University Fritz Prinz and Stacey Bent Center on Nanostructuring for Efficient Energy Conversion (CNEEC)
2009-2014 Sandia National Laboratories Jerry Simmons (8/2009 - 10/2011); Michael E. Coltrin (11/2011 - 7/2014) EFRC for Solid State Lighting Science (SSLS)
2009-2014 Argonne National Laboratory Christopher L. Marshall Institute for Atom-Efficient Chemical Transformations (IACT)

GC5: Non-equilibrium Properties

Grand Challenge #5: How do we characterize and control matter away - especially very far away - from equilibrium?

Discover the general principles describing and controlling systems far from equilibrium, enabling efficient and robust biologically-inspired molecular machines, long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel through adaptive earth chemistry, and achieving environmental sustainability by understanding and utilizing the chemistry and fluid dynamics of the atmosphere.

Years Lead Institution Director(s) Center Name
2009-2014 Donald Danforth Plant Science Center Richard Sayre (8/2009 - 9/2011); Jan Jaworski (10/2011 - 7/2014) Center for Advanced Biofuel Systems (CABS)
2009-2014 Arizona State University Devens Gust Center for Bio-Inspired Solar Fuel Production (BISfuel)
2009-2014 Oak Ridge National Laboratory G. Malcolm Stocks Center for Defect Physics in Structural Materials (CDP)
2009-2014 General Electric Global Research Grigorii Soloveichik Center for Electrocatalysis, Transport Phenomena and Materials for Innovative Energy Storage (CETM)
2009-2014 University of Arizona Neal R. Armstrong Center for Interface Science: Solar Electric Materials (CISSEM)
2009-2014 Los Alamos National Laboratory Michael Nastasi (8/2009 - 11/2011); Amit Misra (12/2011 - 7/2014) Center for Materials at Irradiation and Mechanical Extremes (CMIME)
2009-2014 Idaho National Laboratory Dieter Wolf (9/2009 - 5/2010); Todd Allen (6/2010 - 7/2014) Center for Materials Science of Nuclear Fuel (CMSNF)
2009-2014 University of Michigan Peter F. Green Center for Solar and Thermal Energy Conversion (CSTEC)
2009-2014 Princeton University Chung K. Law Combustion Energy Frontier Research Center (CEFRC)
2009-2014 Cornell University Hector D. Abruna Energy Materials Center at Cornell (emc2)
2009-2014 University of South Carolina Kenneth Reifsnider Heterogeneous Functional Materials Center (HeteroFoaM)
2009-2014 University of Massachusetts Thomas P. Russell and Paul Lahti Polymer-Based Materials for Harvesting Solar Energy (PHaSE)
2009-2014 University of Texas, Austin Paul Barbara (8/2009 - 10/2010); Xiaoyang Zhu (11/2010 - 5/2012); Peter Rossky (6/2012 - 7/2014) Understanding Charge Separation and Transfer at Interfaces in Energy Materials (CST)
Last modified: 3/5/2016 8:04:05 PM