New and optimized materials are important for both technological applications and
fundamental scientific investigations. As such, our research focuses on the design of advanced inorganic materials
having specific structural and physical properties, as well as investigating structure-property
relationships in those materials.
The Salvador group is active in four broad areas of research:
photocatalysts for solar fuel production, electrocatalysts for oxygen
reduction in solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), oxides for electronics-
specifically electro-resistive heterostructures for data storage, and
design of new materials. We are a very collaborative group, especially with
other groups at Carnegie Mellon University.
We are developing materials fabrication methods using pulsed laser
deposition (PLD) and molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) to synthesize new and
metastable single-layer, multilayer, and artificially-layered
heterostructures, as well as to engineer surface and materials
properties. A particular emphasis is placed on metastable
materials and artificially designed structures that are stable only as
epitaxial thin films. We are also interested in the nano-scale
fabrication of data storage structures from such inorganic films.
We are developing methods for fabrication of multi-scale ceramics for
energy conversion, where both crystalline structure and morphological
form play important roles in determining functionality. We are
exploiting wet chemical methods to prepare nanoscale mesoporous
coatings in micro-porous electrodes of SOFCs and on micro-crystals of
light absorbing photocatalysts for solar fuel conversion. Emphasis is
placed on optimizing the structural legnth scales for the manifold
processes required for efficient energy conversion.
We are interested in characterization of the structure and
defects in materials, especially in understanding the interplay between
defects in heterostructured materials. We are interested in the
quantification of microstructure and its relationship to properties,
including activity and degradation of SOFC electrodes, loss in
microwave dielectrics, oxygen exchange in thin films electrocatalysts,
photochemical behavior of heterostructured materials, and hardness of
nitride superlattice coatings. In most cases, we make correlations
between the structure of our tailor-made materials and the physical
properties of interest to a specific application.