Brown University School of Engineering

Engineering Seminar: Nanoscale Functional Imaging of Materials for Energy Applications

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Monday, February 12, 2018 4:00pm - 5:00pm

Marina S. Leite, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering at the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics, University of Maryland will present a talk, "Nanoscale Functional Imaging of Materials for Energy Applications". Abstract: My research group is engaged in fundamental and applied research in materials for energy harvesting and storage, and nanophotonics. The performance of most photovoltaic devices is still limited by their mesoscale behavior. To reveal how the electrical and optical responses vary at relevant length scales, we acquire nanoscale resolved “photographs” of the performance of inhomogeneous materials for photovoltaics, by means of novel nanospectroscopic methods. Our measurements provide a tomography of charge carrier generation, recombination, and collection within materials ranging from well-established thin films to emerging perovskites. In the realm of energy storage, the further development of rechargeable, safe batteries requires the understanding of why and how the material is changing upon charging/discharging. We elucidate the dynamics of lithiation/delithiation in all-solid-state batteries through in situ electron microscopy methods. Finally, concerning optical materials, we overcome the constraint imposed by the pre-defined dielectric functions of noble metals by alloying, where we have recently developed a library of their optical properties. Further, we implemented a novel platform for the design and fabrication of these alloyed thin films and nanostructures with on demand optical response for applications ranging from perfect absorbers to displays and catalysis. Bio: Leite is an Assistant Professor in Materials Science and Engineering, and the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics at UMD since Aug 2013. Her group investigates materials for energy harvesting and storage, from their nano-scale structural, electrical, and optical properties to their implementation in devices. Leite is an invited participant of the National Academy of Engineering 2017 EU-US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, the awardee of the 2016 APS Ovshinsky Sustainable Energy Fellowship from the American Physical Society (APS), and of the 2014 Maryland Academy of Sciences Outstanding Young Scientist Award. Before joining UMD, Leite worked for two years at NIST developing nanoscale metrology for functional materials and was a post-doctoral scholar at Caltech (in H. Atwater’s group). She received her PhD in physics from Campinas State University in Brazil and the Synchrotron Light Source Laboratory. Collectively, her group members received 60 awards and honors in the last 4 years, including four NSF-GRF, two honorable mentions and awards from MRS, IEEE, OSA, ACS, etc. Her research is currently funded by NSF-DMR, NSF-ECCS and by the Army Research Lab.