NEW YORK, Nov. 4 -- Yeshiva University issued the following news release:
Sometimes big change comes from small beginnings. That's especially true in the research of Dr. Anatoly Frenkel, professor of physics at Yeshiva University'sStern College for Women (http://yu.edu/stern/) , whose work seeks to reinvent the way we use and produce energy by unlocking the potential of some of the world's tiniest structures: nanoparticles.
Stern College's Dr. Anatoly Frenkel has recently received more than $1 million in various grants to study energy.
"The nanoparticle is the smallest unit in most novel materials, and all of its properties are linked in one way or another to its structure," said Frenkel. "If we can understand that connection, we can derive much more information about how it can be used for catalysis, energy and other purposes."
That is the focus of three new grants Frenkel has recently been awarded.
The first, "Testing the Predictive Power of Theory for Determining the Structure and Activity of Nanoparticle Electrocatalysts," is a $600,000, three-year grant from the United States Department of Energy, in partnership with the University of Texas at Austin. Frenkel and co-principal investigators Dr. Richard M. Crooks, the Robert A. Welch Chair in Materials Chemistry at UT, and Dr. Graeme Henkelman, associate professor at UT, will seek to determine the three-dimensional structure of nanoparticles. "My colleagues at UT have developed a new method of synthesis to create well-defined particles that are stable and can be used as a gold standard to study the architecture of nanoparticle systems," Frenkel said. "I will bring my expertise to the table to study everything from how the atoms are arranged in the particle to what roles their patterns play in their catalytic activity."
"Correlative Microscopy, Spectroscopy and Diffraction with a Micro-Reactor" is a five-year grant for $570,000 funded by Brookhaven National Laboratory's extremely selective Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program. Together with co-principal investigator Dr. Eric A. Stach, group leader for the Electron Microscopy Group at the BNL's Center for Functional Nanomaterials, Frenkel will use the grant to develop a micro-reactor that will enable scientists to explore the fundamental mechanisms of catalytic function by examining different properties of catalysts while they are in the same structural and dynamic state and the same reaction conditions. "In catalysis, many methods for understanding these properties can only be used one at a time--electron microscopy, infrared micro-spectroscopy and so on--and the catalyst ends up in a different state for each of these experiments," explained Frenkel. "It's difficult to compare information that was obtained using many different instruments, but until now, this was the only way to do it."
The micro-reactor seeks to keep particles in the same condition while a variety of analysis techniques are employed, allowing scientists to gain a much better sense of how they function. "We're going for the core of the problem," Frenkel said. "Ultimately, this will create a better way of using, storing and converting energy."