Aerial image of workers installing solar panels on a home.
News collection

Energy and sustainability

Clean energy and sustainability are two of the most urgent challenges of our time, and they demand the development of solutions for a more sustainable future. A key step toward creating that future ­­– one that meets society’s energy needs without depleting limited resources or accelerating climate change – is being able to visualize, understand and tailor natural and industrial processes with atomic precision. That’s the primary goal of SLAC’s energy research.

Researchers at SLAC use an array of advanced tools to study complex energy-related questions, like how individual particles inside of batteries evolve and interact with each other over time.

SLAC’s research spans from improving solar cell performance to making the electric grid more resilient and building quantum materials for future energy technologies. Already, scientists at the lab have found new ways to split water molecules to generate clean hydrogen gas; use 3D printing to manufacture materials with less waste; and extend the range of electric-vehicle batteries while making them safer.

Going forward, researchers from academia and industry will continue to benefit from SLAC’s state-of-the-art, freely available resources, like its new superconducting X-ray free-electron laser and databases of catalyst properties, all of which are meant to bring a sustainable, clean energy future closer.

Materials, chemistry and energy sciences are central to many of today’s most critical technical challenges:

News

Research updates

Following the NIF ignition demonstrations, the prospect of developing a fusion energy source using lasers looks brighter than ever. 

Illustration featuring three SLAC scientists Alan Fry, Arianna Gleason, and Siegfried Glenzer.

SLAC and its partners have released a free, easy-to-use platform for understanding and managing electric grids. 

View of a city at twilight with a power transmission tower in foreground

SLAC will partner in two collaborations that aim to speed up progress in fusion energy science and technology.

Laser engineer Eric Cunningham with the Matter in Extreme Conditions optical laser

The team reduced the amount of expensive platinum group metals needed to make an effective cell and found a new way to test future fuel cell innovations.

An illustration of a thin film resembling dry, cracked earth.

The future of experimental particle physics is exciting –  and energy intensive. SLAC physicists are thinking about how to make one proposal, the Cool Copper Collider, more sustainable.

The view down a copper tube.

Following the NIF ignition demonstrations, the prospect of developing a fusion energy source using lasers looks brighter than ever. 

Illustration featuring three SLAC scientists Alan Fry, Arianna Gleason, and Siegfried Glenzer.

SLAC and its partners have released a free, easy-to-use platform for understanding and managing electric grids. 

View of a city at twilight with a power transmission tower in foreground

SLAC will partner in two collaborations that aim to speed up progress in fusion energy science and technology.

Laser engineer Eric Cunningham with the Matter in Extreme Conditions optical laser

The team reduced the amount of expensive platinum group metals needed to make an effective cell and found a new way to test future fuel cell innovations.

An illustration of a thin film resembling dry, cracked earth.

The future of experimental particle physics is exciting –  and energy intensive. SLAC physicists are thinking about how to make one proposal, the Cool Copper Collider, more sustainable.

The view down a copper tube.

LaserNetUS funding will allow scientists to explore fundamental plasma science and inertial fusion energy research and technology.

Matter in Extreme Conditions (MEC) Hutch 6, located in the LCLS Far Experimental Hall.

With up to a million X-ray flashes per second, 8,000 times more than its predecessor, it transforms the ability of scientists to explore atomic-scale, ultrafast phenomena that are key to a broad range of applications, from quantum materials to clean...

LCLS-II first light

In our rapidly changing world, plants must adapt to new environments or die. Ritimukta Sarangi discusses how researchers and users at SSRL are tackling plant resilience from molecular to ecosystem scales.

A graphic illustrating a plant and the many kinds of interactions it has with its environment.

Garcia-Esparza’s research offers unique insights into catalysts relevant to renewable energy generation and emerging materials for microelectronics.

This is a photograph of SSRL scientist Angel Garcia Esparza, who was awarded the 2023 Spicer Award

Leora Dresselhaus-Marais, Claudio Emma,  Bernhard Mistlberger and Johanna Nelson Weker will pursue cutting-edge research into decarbonizing steel production, theoretical physics, generating more intense particle beams, and improving X-ray microscopes.

This photo shows all four recipients from SLAC and Stanford of the DOE's 2023 Early Career Award


Behind the scenes

Energy and sustainability at SLAC

People working on energy and sustainability across the lab

still frame public lecture may 2018
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Public Lecture | A Blueprint for New Fuel Cell Catalysts
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Sustainability Research at SLAC
Where research happens

Our scientific facilities

Scientists from universities, laboratories and private companies around the world use our cutting-edge research facilities.

Use our facilities

SSRL

Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource provides extremely bright X-rays that scientists use in a wide range of research to probe matter on the scale of atoms and molecules. 

SSRL facility

LCLS

Linac Coherent Light Source is the world’s first hard X-ray free-electron laser allowing researchers to make stop-action movies of chemistry in action and explore proteins for new pharmaceuticals.

Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) Undulator Hall

FACET-II

FACET-II provides high-energy electron beams for researching revolutionary particle accelerator technologies that could make future accelerators 100 to 1,000 times smaller and a lot more capable.

Selina Li, Sebastien Corde, and Philippe Hering in a FACET laser lab

Cryo-EM

The Stanford-SLAC Cryo-EM facility gives scientists unprecedented views of the inner workings of cells and of technologies like batteries and solar cells.

Cryo-EM instrument


 

For questions or comments, contact the SLAC Office of Communications at communications@slac.stanford.edu.


SLAC is a vibrant multiprogram laboratory that explores how the universe works at the biggest, smallest and fastest scales and invents powerful tools used by scientists around the globe. With research spanning particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology, materials, chemistry, bio- and energy sciences and scientific computing, we help solve real-world problems and advance the interests of the nation.

SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.