The Center for the Science of Synthesis Across Scales (CSSAS) is a multi-institution Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) established in 2018 with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences. CSSAS is housed at the University of Washington and operates in close integration with its institutional partners: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of California San Diego, and the University of Chicago.
With living systems as our inspiration, we seek to achieve rational design of hierarchical materials for complex energy functions based on a predictive understanding of materials synthesis across scales.
To harness the complex functionality of hierarchical materials by mastering the design of high-information-content building blocks that predictively self-assemble into responsive, reconfigurable, self-healing materials, and direct the formation and organization of inorganic components.
The large configurational space created by structural complexity and molecular flexibility biases systems towards disordered and metastable states associated with disparate timescales for aggregation and ordering. However, a judicious choice of solution parameters and of the distribution of charged, hydrophobic, and hydrophilic groups provides the local reversibility needed to achieve order and control over the degree of stability of the spectrum of ordered states.