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Title: Biological and Biomimetic Low-Temperature Routes to Materials for Energy Applications

New materials are needed to significantly improve the efficiencies of energy harnessing, transduction and storage, yet the synthesis of advanced composites and multi-metallic semiconductors with nanostructures optimized for these functions remains poorly understood and even less well controlled. To help address this need, we proposed three goals: (1) to further investigate the hierarchical structure of the biologically synthesized silica comprising the skeletal spicules of sponges that we discovered, to better resolve the role and mechanism of templating by the hierarchically assembled silicatein protein filament; (2) to extend our molecular and genetic analyses and engineering of silicatein, the self-assembling, structure-directing, silica-synthesizing enzyme we discovered and characterized, to better understand and manipulate the catalysis and templating of semiconductor synthesis,; and (3) to further investigate, scale up and harness the biologically inspired, low-temperature, kinetically controlled catalytic synthesis method we developed (based on the mechanism we discovered in silicatein) to investigate the kinetic control of the structure-function relationships in magnetic materials, and develop new materials for energy applications. The bio-inspired catalytic synthesis method we have developed is low-cost, low temperature, and operates without the use of polluting chemicals. In addition to direct applications for improvement of batteries and fuel cells, the broader impact ofmore » this research includes a deeper fundamental understanding of the factors governing kinetically controlled synthesis and its control of the emergent nanostructure and performance of a wide range of nanomaterials for energy applications.« less
  1. Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, CA (United States). Inst. for Collaborative Biotechnologies
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE Bio-inspired; catalysis; nanofabrication; low-temperature; semiconductor; metal oxide; metal hydroxide; metal phosphate; photovoltaic; battery; fuel cell; silicatein; sponge; silica