Anatoly Frenkel and Team Secure Department of Energy Grant to Help Develop New Energy Sources
Dr. Anatoly Frenkel, professor of physics at Yeshiva University, is part of a team of physicists who have secured a three-year grant for nearly $2 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to study how sub-microscopic manmade nanoclusters can be used to create more efficient energy sources.
Frenkel’s team, which includes Ralph Nuzzo (University of Illinois), John Rehr (U. Washington) and Judith Yang (University of Pittsburgh), will receive a total of $1.92 million over the next three years for a grant to study: “Reactivity & Structural Dynamics of Supported Metal Nanoclusters using Electron Microscopy, In-Situ X-Ray Spectroscopy, Electronic Structure Theories, & Molecular Dynamics Simulations.”
The grant will go to the study of the shape, size and movements of metal nanoclusters—infinitesimally small manmade particles that are used to help catalyze the bonding of other chemicals.
This grant, specifically, is to help the DOE create more efficient fuel and new forms of energy that could one day help wean Americans off of fossil fuels and dependence on foreign energy sources.
While it is up to chemists to figure out exactly how to make those fuels, Frenkel—who is an expert in the use of the special electron microscopes needed to study nanoclusters—and his colleagues will examine and help determine which of these particles the chemists can use to create the reactions needed to create these fuels.
“In the energy sciences catalysts are used to create new forms of energy or to improve existing forms of energy,” said Frenkel. “Ninety percent of all chemical processes use catalysts—and 60 percent of all products we use are made with this chemistry. How to make the proper catalyst is the million dollar question. It is our job to help humanity decrease its dependency on fossil fuels and how to help industry become more competitive.”
The DOE has helped fund Frenkel’s work at Yeshiva University for 10 years.