Bilge Yildiz the Norman C. Rasmussen Assistant Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering, is among a select group of young scientists awarded the National Science Foundation's Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award in 2011.The CAREER Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the NSF's most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty. CAREER awards recognize young professors who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.
Professor Yildiz's CAREER project aims to advance the understanding of strain coupling to the transport and reactivity properties of thin oxide films at elevated temperatures. The fundamental mechano-chemical processes to be explored in this project could have far-reaching implications for sustainable energy systems. For example, a deeper understanding of how mechanical strain alters material behavior at the atomic level may enable the acceleration of reaction and transport kinetics in solid oxide fuel cells for electricity production, or in systems to split water and CO2 for synthetic fuels production. Conversely, such knowledge could enable the deceleration of reaction kinetics to suppress corrosion of key structural materials in, for example, nuclear power plants or concentrated solar plants. Professor Yildiz's project includes a collaboration with Professor Juergen Fleig at the Vienna University of Technology in Austria to institute complementary research capabilities in this field, and to facilitate international research experience for her students. As part of her CAREER project Professor Yildiz also plans to develop related new materials for the energy curriculum in NSE and the School of Engineering.