Carnegie Mellon University

Salvador Research Group - Research Interests

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.

Materials Fabrication
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.

Materials Characterization
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.