Hydrogen Storage in Complex Metal Hydrides and Metal Organic Framework Materials: Challenges and Opportunities

Monday, November 14, 2011 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Room 610, M&M Building

Yves J. Chabal
Department of Materials Science and Engineering University of Texas at Dallas


The hydrogen economy critically depends on the ability to store hydrogen safely with high gravimetric and volumetric capacities. Three approaches are being seriously considered by DOE at present: 1) chemical hydrides, 2) complex metal hydrides, and 3) microporous materials. Each approach faces fundamental issues that will require scientific breakthroughs to incorporate them into practical systems. In our group, we are studying two different systems (#2 and 3) and addressing the following fundamental questions: 1) how can hydrogen dissociate on aluminum and what is the nature of mass transport in complex alanates to form complex metal hydrides? and 2) What is the nature of interactions for H2 molecules in microporous metal organic framework (MOF) materials?
To address these questions, we bring to bear a number of characterization methods, such as infrared (IR) absorption spectroscopy, Raman scattering, mass spectrometry, and isotherm measurements. With the help of first principles calculations performed by our collaborators, we derive detailed information on the interaction, dissociation, and product formation for hydrogen on aluminum
surfaces. On aluminum surfaces, the primary objective is to identify the formation of alanes and understand their formation, as well as to understand the role of catalysts such as titanium in dissociation and kinetics of hydrogen. In microporous MOF materials, our primary objectives are to better understand and explain molecule-sorbent interactions within these systems and to provide insight and guidelines toward the design, synthesis and modification of MOF structures for enhanced molecular adsorption strengths, storage capacity and selectivity. Beyond the study of existing and new MOFs, this program is intended to develop novel experimental and theoretical methods to advance the understanding of molecular incorporation into a broader class of microporous materials, to predict improved materials with active metal centers, and to direct the optimized synthesis processes for a variety of applications (storage, separation, sensors).
Work supported by DOE-BES.


Yves Chabal holds a Texas Instrument Distinguished Chair in Nanoelectronics at the University of Texas at Dallas. He obtained a BA in Physics from Princeton University in 1974, and a Ph.D. in Physics from Cornell University in 1980. He then joined Bell Laboratories where he developed sensitive spectroscopic methods to characterize surfaces and interfaces. He worked at Murray Hill, New Jersey, from 1980 until 2002 for AT&T, Lucent Technologies (1996) and Agere Systems (2001) in the Surface Physics, Optical Physics and Materials Science departments. In 2003, he joined Rutgers University as Professor in Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering, where he expanded his research into new methods of film growth (atomic layer deposition), bio- sensors, and energy (hydrogen storage). He directed the Laboratory for Surface Modification, an interdisciplinary
Center to promote large initiatives. He joined UT Dallas in January 2008 to lead the Materials Science and Engineering department in the Erik Jonsson Engineering School.
He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Vacuum Society, received a Bell Laboratories Affirmative Action Award (1994), an IBM faculty award (2003), the Rutgers Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Research (2006), and the Davisson-Germer Prize (2009), the Tech Titan Technology Innovator Award in 2010, and has recently been recognized by the ACS for encouraging women into careers in the Chemical Sciences.