International Conference: AMMCS-2013

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, August 26-30, 2013

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AMMCS-2013 Venue: Wilfrid Laurier University Campus in Waterloo, Canada


AMMCS-2013 Plenary Talk

How Quantum Mechanics Can Help Solve the World's Energy Problems

Emily A. Carter

Abstract: If we are to survive as a species on this planet, we must make major science and engineering breakthroughs in the way we harvest, store, transmit, and use energy. An overview of my own research efforts in this direction will be given, including: optimizing materials to improve efficiency of turbine engines used for power generation and aircraft propulsion, characterizing combustion of biofuels and tritium incorporation in fusion reactor walls, optimizing mechanical properties of lightweight metal alloys for fuel-efficient vehicles, optimizing ion and electron transport in solid oxide fuel cell cathodes, and designing novel materials from abundant elements for photovoltaics and photoelectrodes to convert sunlight into electricity and fuels.

Fast and accurate quantum mechanics methods enabling the treatment of large biofuel molecules and mesoscale defects in metals that control mechanical properties will be briefly discussed. Then examples of key metrics we calculate to help design efficient new materials for photovoltaics, photocatalysts, and solid oxide fuel cells will be presented. These metrics point toward which dopants or alloys are likely to provide the most efficient energy conversion materials.

Professor Carter is the Founding Director of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton University and the Gerhard R. Andlinger Professor in Energy and the Environment, as well as Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Applied and Computational Mathematics. Her current research is focused entirely on enabling discovery and design of molecules and materials for sustainable energy, including converting sunlight to electricity and fuels, providing clean electricity from solid oxide fuel cells, clean and efficient combustion of biofuels, optimizing lightweight metal alloys for fuel-efficient vehicles, and characterizing hydrogen isotope incorporation into plasma facing components of fusion reactors.

Professor Carter received her B.S. in Chemistry from UC Berkeley in 1982 (graduating Phi Beta Kappa) and her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Caltech in 1987. After a year as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Colorado, Boulder, she spent the next 16 years on the faculty of UCLA as a Professor of Chemistry and later of Materials Science and Engineering. She moved to Princeton University in 2004. She holds courtesy appointments in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, and three interdisciplinary institutes (PICSciE, PRISM, and PEI). The author of over 260 publications, she has delivered more than 400 invited lectures all over the world and serves on numerous international advisory boards spanning a wide range of disciplines. Her scholarly work has been recognized by a number of national and international awards and honors from a variety of entities, including the American Chemical Society (ACS), the American Vacuum Society, the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science. She received the 2007 ACS Award for Computers in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research, was elected in 2008 to both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences, in 2009 was elected to the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science, in 2011 was awarded the August Wilhelm von Hoffmann Lecture of the German Chemical Society, and in 2012 received a Doctor Honoris Causa from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne. You can learn more about her at

AMMCS, 2013  

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