Nicholas BEDFORD

University of New South Wales, Australia et National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), USA.

Developing Functional Nanoscale Materials through the Gained Fundamental Insights from In-situ Synchrotron Characterization Methods

Nanoscale materials have become ubiquitous with advances in various fields of societal importance. Yet to capitalize on their predicted potential, rational synthetic strategies are needed to maximize materials development and discovery.  As atomic-scale structure directly effects materials properties, a fundamental understanding of relationships tying atomic-scale structure, processing/synthesis, and the resulting function together is paramount. In this regard, nanoscale materials can be particularly difficult to fully characterize at this length scale, especially under conditions reflecting their intended application.

In this seminar, efforts from my group in strategy development for synthesis-structure-function relationships will be summarized. A suite of synchrotron radiation characterization methods and advanced structural modeling methods techniques are the foundation of our efforts, including combined analysis of scattering and spectroscopy datasets.  Reverse Monte Carlo (RMC) approaches of modeling synchrotron datasets provide nanoparticle structure models, which can then be used to accurately assess structure-function relationships.  In addition, the development of in-situ methodologies will be discussed, showcasing the need to understand structural changes that occur while under realistic conditions.  Research will be presented into efforts covering catalysis and advanced ceramic materials.  Broadly, the presented examples and underlying methodology highlight routes to enable rational nanomaterials design through understanding using synchrotron radiation characterization methodologies.


Short bio of Dr Nicholas Bedford
Dr Nicholas Bedford received a BS in Chemistry and a BS in Physics from Central Michigan University in 2007 and PhD in Materials Science in 2012 from the University of Cincinnati (UC). During his time at UC, he performed research at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), where he was later awarded a National Research Council (NRC) postdoctoral fellowship award to study bio-inspired nanomaterials. During his NRC postdoc, he concurrently served as a visiting scholar in the University of Miami’s chemistry department. Following a brief stint at the Applied Chemical and Materials Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology from 2014-2016, he moved back at AFRL as a Materials Research Engineer, where he spearheaded collaborative efforts between AFRL and various synchrotron facilities.  Early in 2018, he moved to the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of New South Wales to start his academic career at the rank of Lecturer.  In 2020, he was promoted to Senior Lecturer and received tenure.  In 2023, he obtained an affiliate appoint with National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Colorado School of Mines through the Nexus collaborative program to focus on catalyst development sustainable fuels and hydrogen generation. Dr. Bedford’s current research is focused on broadly solving the “structure/function relationships” problem for nanoscale materials, wherein the interplay between novel synthetic capabilities and synchrotron radiation characterization methods can lead to rational design strategies for new materials with emergent properties in the areas of catalysis, energy materials, ceramics, and biosensors.
Conference: Nicholas BEDFORD – 18/12/2023
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