Dr. Carter –
I believe that we scientists and engineers have a responsibility to use our skills to improve life for all Earth’s inhabitants. To this end, for the past dozen years, I have used my skills – in developing and applying quantum mechanics simulation methods aimed at complex phenomena difficult to probe experimentally – to help accelerate discovery, understanding, and optimization of materials for sustainable energy conversion processes. These range from materials for converting sunlight and other renewable energy sources to fuels and electricity, to biodiesel fuels, to clean electricity production from solid oxide fuel cells and nuclear fusion reactors, to lightweight metal alloys for fuel-efficient vehicles. During this talk, I will focus on potential technological advances in materials science, nanoscale optics, and electrochemistry that could someday create a virtuous cycle, exploiting energy from sunlight and molecules in air, water, and carbon dioxide to synthesize the fuels and chemicals needed to sustain future generations.