University of Pennsylvania
Chemical design of materials for energy transformations
A great challenge in physical chemistry is the development of fundamental understanding of optical, electronic, and ionic processes that lead to useful transfer, conversion, or storage of energy. In this talk I will present key areas where we can develop new theoretical methods to understand and design materials. First, I will discuss the theory of the bulk photovoltaic effect, including the main optoelectronic processes and conceptual understanding of why certain materials give large photocurrents. Next, I will present an understanding of dynamic behavior of materials, from the large-amplitude motions of hybrid perovskites to the emergent formation of multi-component catalytic surfaces. Finally, I will briefly describe some ideas from quantum geometry and topological physics, in order to incorporate these concepts into our materials design approach to optoelectronic and catalytic materials.