One of the research foci of the Chemical Science Division is the study of Chemical Catalysis at the SUNCAT Center for Interface Science and Catalysis, a partnership between SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Stanford School of Engineering. Catalysts are materials that can affect chemical reactions without themselves being changed. At SUNCAT, researchers are working on improving catalysts, which are widely used in industry to promote reactions for making fuels, fertilizers and other products. The more sensitive and efficient the catalyst, the less energy it uses and the less waste it leaves behind. Scientists want to reach such a deep understanding of how catalysts work that they can deliberately design them for particular jobs from scratch, and use them to generate and store energy in novel ways.

New Catalyst is Three Times Better at Splitting Water

Some specific areas of our research interest include:

  • Understanding of surface chemical processes
  • Theoretical and experimental methods in surface reactivity
  • Developing databases of surface chemical properties
  • Developing science-based catalyst design principles
  • Energy Conversion processes

Combining expertise in theory, modeling and simulation, with access to powerful tools for materials characterization such as SLAC's X-ray facilities Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) and Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL), researchers at SUNCAT are at the forefront of energy research. Computational research at SUNCAT is performed using a computer cluster which is physically located at SLAC, and additional computing resources that we have access to.

Visit the SUNCAT Center website for more info »