Recent advances in neutron and x-ray scattering instrumentation at major DOE facilities such as the Spallation Neutron Source and Advanced Photon Source provide unprecedented insights into complex phenomena in bulk and interfacial materials. The vision of our group is to harness the complementarity of neutrons and x-rays to study how materials respond on a range of length and time scales to phase competition, so that we can learn to control emergent behavior and generate functional properties in energy-related materials.
We use neutrons and x-rays to investigate the structure and dynamics of bulk and interfacial materials with properties that are useful for energy applications, such as superconductivity, magnetism and thermoelectricity. Phase competition can generate or enhance such properties, but it is extremely challenging to characterize fluctuations in the competing order, whether in bulk disordered materials, or artificial heterostructures. Our goal is to utilize efficient techniques that we have been developing for measuring nanoscale phase fluctuations, both static and dynamic, to enable the rational design of new materials for energy within MSD.