Materials Chemistry

Materials chemistry is a new and highly interdisciplinary science that involves the use of chemistry for the creation, characterization, and application of materials with interesting or potentially useful physical or chemical characteristics. Substances of interest include inorganic, organic, polymeric, and hybrid materials, and thus materials chemistry incorporates solid-state chemistry, nanoscience, and polymer chemistry. Materials chemistry is central to the development of new technology and the global economy. As we look back, synthetic materials have played a vital role in improving the standard of living and the quality of human life worldwide. Looking forward, materials chemistry will continue to be essential for solving the greatest challenges of our time, from sustainable energy storage and environmental challenges to the development of quantum devices and quantum communication technology.

At Yale, the materials chemistry program has developed rapidly during the past decade. Powered by exceptional research facilities, Yale materials chemists are developing materials with controlled structure, properties, and function by combining novel synthesis and characterization techniques with computational modeling and artificial intelligence methods. Significant contributions have recently been made in energy storage and conversion, environmental remediation, imaging, sensing, and electronics. A shared feature of research is the pursuit for molecular-level understanding of structure-property-function correlations, using experimental and computational techniques. The materials chemistry group collaborates heavily among themselves and with research groups in other departments, as represented in the university’s Energy Sciences Institute, the Center for Research on Interface Structures and Phenomena, and the Yale Quantum Institute. The materials chemistry group is also actively engaged in the DOE-funded Center for Hybrid Approaches to Solar Energy to Liquid Fuels based at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and the 2021 DoD Multidisciplinary Research Program of the University Research Initiative (MURI) for N=N and C-H Bond Activation.

Ongoing research in materials chemistry at Yale includes the preparation of new phases and interfacial structures for advanced battery technologies; the study of the chemistry and electrochemistry of colloids and materials interfaces, such as the chemistry of adsorbed hydrogen on surfaces; and the development of hybrid heterogenized molecular structures on surfaces for the photochemical production of liquid fuels. A goal for the future is to rationally design and characterize active sites in materials for targeted applications.