SSRL Headline News - A Monthly Publication

From SSRL Director Chi-Chang Kao:
SSRL Takes on the Frontiers of Materials Science


Chi-Chang KaoAs we at SSRL continue to refine our five-to-ten-year strategic plan, our materials science goals are becoming increasingly clear. Advanced materials are at the heart of our technically driven society, and recent advances in theory, computation power, materials synthesis, and characterization tools have brought the goal of “materials by design” within reach. Synchrotron light sources, with their exceptional properties, play a critical role in the materials-by-design process, providing the powerful characterization capabilities required by the materials research community.

The SSRL Materials Science program is focused on several specific areas within materials sciences where we can have the most important impact. First, we will provide and develop a comprehensive set of tools and methodologies in support of the national “Materials Genome” initiative, focusing in particular on materials for sustainable energy, as identified in the SLAC Energy Strategy. Second, we will provide and develop tools and methodologies to understand the wide range of phenomena emerging from complex systems, in particular strongly correlated electron materials such as high temperature superconductors as well as the magnetic materials and semiconductors needed for emerging consumer products.

Special emphasis will be given to the following areas:

  • Enhancing in-situ, real-time capabilities for the study of the relationship between structure and function in materials, material responses under extreme conditions, as well as material synthesis and processing
  • Developing tools and integrated approaches to probe materials on multiple length-scales and time-scales, including those made possible by SPEAR3's high-repetition rate pump-probe “low-alpha” mode
  • Coupling experimental techniques closely to theory and modeling
  • Developing high-throughput, rapid access characterization capabilities
We will broaden the impact of SSRL through partnerships with a large number of institutions in sustainable energy materials research, including many Energy Frontier Research Centers (ERFCs), for example the Center for Inverse Design, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Stanford’s Precourt Institute for Energy. In many cases, SSRL hosts EFRC-affiliated students and postdoctoral researchers, with SSRL staff acting as mentors for the young researchers. We will also closely coordinate with other Department of Energy Office of Science user facilities to enhance industrial research and advance initiatives supported by the DOE technology offices, such as the Bay Area Photovoltaic Consortium (BAPVC), which is supported by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Finally, in close collaboration with Stanford University and through introductory workshops for new synchrotron users, one-on-one mentoring for undergraduate and graduate students, and a dedicated materials-science teaching beam line, we will carry on SSRL's long tradition of educating and training the next generation of scientists and engineers.

This article originally appeared in the January 2012 edition of SSRL Headline News.

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Questions? Please contact Kelen Tuttle