Grant aims to accelerate development of new technologies, such as better materials for conversion of heat to electricity, more efficient batteries

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a four-year, $12 million grant to establish a new research center led by a Rutgers professor to accelerate the development of materials that improve energy efficiency and boost energy production.

Advanced materials research could lead to more efficient batteries and other energy saving technologies.
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The center will be hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y., and led by Gabriel Kotliar, Board of Governors Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, School of Arts and Sciences, at Rutgers University. Kotliar also holds a part-time position at Brookhaven Lab.

“This is a huge new initiative by the Department of Energy,” said Robert Bartynski, chair of Rutgers’ Department of Physics and Astronomy. “Rutgers is among an elite group of universities and labs to contribute to this effort, and the department’s award formalizes a strong and growing collaboration between Rutgers and Brookhaven National Laboratory.”

Gabriel Kotliar
Gabriel Kotliar

The team’s research will focus on developing advanced materials for high-temperature superconductors and other energy initiatives, including technologies that convert heat to electricity to increase energy resources and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

“Developing tools to increase our understanding of these most interesting substances could result in the development of important new technologies, such as better thermoelectric materials for conversion of heat to electricity and more efficient batteries for cars and electronic devices,” said Kotliar.

Kristjan Haule
Kristjan Haule

The new endeavor, called the Center for Computational Design of Functional Strongly Correlated Materials and Theoretical Spectroscopy, will develop software and databases that catalog the essential physics and chemistry of these materials to help other researchers and industrial scientists develop useful new materials more quickly. Brookhaven Lab will also use its experimental facilities to validate the researchers’ theoretical predictions.

Another Rutgers physics professor, Kristjan Haule, will lead a Rutgers-based lab that supports the center’s research, including development of simulation tools to predict properties of materials, and a database of such simulations for useful materials such as thermoelectrics.

The center is one of three funded by the Department of Energy at several national laboratories and universities nationwide in support of the U. S. Government’s Materials Genome Initiative (MGI). MGI is a multi-agency effort to reduce the time from discovery to deployment of new advanced materials with the goal to revitalize American manufacturing. The department’s total funding for all three centers will be $32 million over four years.

Media contact: Carl Blesch, 848-932-0550,