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Symposium EN07-Critical Materials for Energy—Enhanced Functionality, Sustainable Supply and Replacement

The goal of this symposium is to provide an interactive forum for scientists from various fields who work towards novel and more efficient extraction and utilization of critical materials and minerals to enable sustainable energy technologies. Critical materials and minerals, including rare-earth elements (REE), platinum group elements (PGE), and lithium/cobalt/nickel that possess unique electronic, magnetic, catalytic, transport, and luminescent properties, are key components of many clean energy and high-tech applications that enable wind turbines, solar panels, electric vehicles, and energy-efficient lighting and transportation for accelerating decarbonization economy and realizing Net-Zero-World ecosystem. However, uneven resource distribution and limited as well as vulnerable supply chains of critical materials pose an immense risk to the development and deployment of clean energy technologies both domestically and globally. Therefore, a sustained, multidisciplinary effort by integrating scientific research and engineering innovation to develop solutions across the materials lifecycle, including mineral processing, materials manufacturing, elemental substitution, efficient use, and end-of-life recycling is timely and highly needed. To address the pressing opportunities and challenges, we envision this symposium to highlight most recent trends in fundamental and applied research on enhancing functional behavior and discovery of new properties of REE/PGE-based materials, mining, harnessing, substituting, and recycling critical materials in a wide range of energy and electronic applications. This symposium will bridge expertise on theoretical materials design, materials synthesis, functional measurement/control, advanced characterization, high-throughput computations and machine-learning/artificial intelligence methods (tentative joint sessions).

Topics will include:

  • REEs and PGEs enabled/enhanced (electro)chemistry, photocatalysis, light-harvesting, ionotronic/neuromorphic applications
  • Relevance of REEs in the operation of photovoltaics, from purely inorganic to hybrid-materials (e.g. perovskites)
  • Theory, high-throughput computations and machine-learning/artificial intelligence for predictive modeling and design of critical materials
  • Progress and challenges with substituting REE/PGE with more abundant elements
  • Imaging and control of REEs and PGEs dynamically in bulk, surface, interface and grain boundary of energy and electronic materials
  • Migration and enrichment of critical materials in the earth’s environments (magmatic, hydrothermal, sedimentary, and weathering)
  • New separation and recycling principles and approaches (e.g., chemical, electrochemical, bio-inspired, microbes-based) for REEs, PGEs, lithium, cobalt, nickel, and magnesium in circular economy processes
  • Life cycle analysis and assessment strategies on critical materials for environmental sustainability and socio-economic viability
  • A tutorial complementing this symposium is tentatively planned.

Invited Speakers (tentative):

  • Rebecca Abergel (University of California, Berkeley, USA)
  • Paul Anderson (University of Birmingham, United Kingdom)
  • Michael Bau (Jacobs University, Germany)
  • Vyacheslav Bryantsev (Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA)
  • Jeffrey Catalano (Washington University in St. Louis, USA)
  • Steven Chu (Stanford University, USA)
  • Yoshiko Fujita (Idaho National Laboratory, USA)
  • Laura Gagliardi (The University of Chicago, USA)
  • Saw Wai Hla (Argonne National Laboratory, USA)
  • Hideo Hosono (Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan)
  • Dongsheng Li (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, USA)
  • Long Luo (Wayne State University, USA)
  • Judson Marte (MP Materials, USA)
  • Sascha Nowak (Universität Münster, Germany)
  • Gianfranco Pacchioni (University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy)
  • Tanya Prozorov (Ames Laboratory, USA)
  • George Schatz (Northwestern University, USA)
  • Swetlana Schauermann (Kiel University, Germany)
  • Kathleen Stebe (University of Pennsylvania, USA)
  • Kelsey Stoerzinger (Oregon State University, USA)
  • Ahmet Uysal (Argonne National Laboratory, USA)
  • Frances Wall (University of Exeter, United Kingdom)
  • Yan Wang (Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA)

Symposium Organizers

Chong Liu
The University of Chicago
Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering

Juan Diego Rodriguez-Blanco
Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin
Department of Geology
No Phone for Symposium Organizer Provided , [email protected]

Peter Sushko
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Physcial Sciences Division
No Phone for Symposium Organizer Provided , [email protected]

Hua Zhou
Argonne National Laboratory
Advanced Photon Source

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MRS publishes with Springer Nature



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