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Chapter 1 OVERVIEW: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS In the 1990s ~ dream of two centuries will perhaps be realized: It may become possible to move electrons from a precisely defined surface of an electrical conductor to precisely defined reaction centers in molecules anchored to that surface. The implications of attaining this seemingly simple goal are very broad. Indeed, by achieving this goal, electrochemistry may well come to serve centrally in a broad advance of science and technology. This report seeks to document such opportunities and routes for their realization. Electrochemical processes based on just such events today provide humanity both with materials essential to civilization (many of which cannot be created by any other economical method) and with major technologies that contribute significantly to the national well-being and security. Pacemaker batteries that last a lifetime are available; communication systems and portable electronic devices have been powered by batteries from their beginnings. Indeed, electrochemical batteries are truly unique in their ability to store chemical energy and to convert it instantaneously and efficiently into mobile electrical power. Electrochemical methods for surface treatment play an essential role in making microelectronic devices, in reducing corrosion, and in conserving critical materials. Many plastics and textiles are made with chemicals produced by electrolysis. Aluminum for buildings and aircraft and titanium for supersonic aircraft and tanks are made exclusively by processes that depend on electrochemical reactions. Also, electro- chemical reactions are at the root of corrosion processes. In the future, it may become possible to produce organized networks of molecules resembling, in their controlled structure, biological systems, yet having properties different from those of any material known today. New types of computers based on electrochemical elements may then be invented, as may implanted microsensors reporting on subtle changes in the biochemistry of the human body. With better electro- chemical knowledge it may also become feasible to accelerate the healing of tissue and to simulate the action of nerves that have been damaged. Coatings for cars that would not change in appearance after years of service might be discovered, along with propulsion systems for electric vehicles and methods to remove toxic materials selectively from streams of water.

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2 Although these potential applications may sound like dreams, the scientific basis for them has already been demonstrated by experiments during the 1980s. This report illuminates opportunities for new technological applica- tions founded on electrochemical phenomena. It addresses issues essential to the modernization and enhancement of competitiveness of the existing American electrochemical process industry. It identifies scientific and applied problems that currently limit progress and makes recommendations that respond to these issues. Specific documentation is provided on socioeconomic benefits (Chapter 3), current federal support (Chapter 4), high-priority opportunities in technologies (Chapter 5) and in research (Chapter 6), and needs in education (Chapter 7~. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS The committee reached six conclusions and formulated eight recommendations for action. These are given below. The remainder of the report provides the background information on which these perspectives are based. 1. Opportunities for New Industries Conclusion. Major opportunities for new products and processes basest on electrochemistry exist outside of conventional electro- chemical industries. Products and processes based on electrochemical phenomena at present contribute nearly $30 billion per year to the gross national product of the United States. New additional markets having annual sales on the order of $20 billion are projected for electrochemical products and processes within the next decade. These markets include microelectronics, sensors, surface processing, membrane separations, advanced batteries and fuel cells, and corrosion control, among others. At present, however, there are no major federal programs focused on the broad range of electrochemical phenomena that underpin these areas, with the exception of batteries and fuel cells. (For the latter two areas, research recommendations are summarized in earlier reports- NMAB-390, Assessment of Research bleeds for Advanced Battery Systems, and NMAB-411, Fuel Cell Materials Technology in Vehicular PropuIsion.) The United States has a research capability in electrochemistry that could become the basis for major technological developments and for competitive industries if adequately sustained. However, many electrochemical technologies are based on complex coupled phenomena that

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3 are not well understood. For this reason development efforts can be slow and inefficient. The long lead time and high investment risk associated with new "breakthrough" processes and devices require federal support for research and early stages of exploratory development. Such support would contribute to national defense as well as a strong domestic competitive position relative to foreign manufacturers, whose endeavors are often effectively advanced by massive government-sponsored research and development programs. Accordingly, we recommend that multidisciplinary research be pursued vigorously in key high-technology electrochemical areas that have readily apparent commercial potential. Technological opportunities where success is deemed likely in the near term (less than 10 years) are identified in Chapter 5. Highest priority is placed on Advanced energy conversion devices, including batteries and fuel cells and photoelectrochemical devices . processing Microelectronics, including plasma and electrochemical surface High-performance coatings and materials Biomedical devices, including membranes and sensors 2. Opportunities in Basic Science Conclusion: Rapid evolution is about to occur in several critical areas of basic electrochemical science, and this will underpin significant new technological developments. Improved quantitative understanding of electrochemical systems is essential. Although substantial progress has been made in the develop- ment of models and theories for electrochemical systems, these are oversimplified and in many instances not quantitative. The rapidly evolving in situ instrumental techniques are providing a wholly new level of quantitative experimental information concerning electro- chemical systems and will provide a strong base on which to build quantitatively reliable models. Chapter 6 summarizes opportunities for cross-cutting research that hold great promise for advancement of fundamental knowledge. These will ultimately lead to new products and processes in the far term (more than 10 years). Accordingly, we recommends that a commitment be rotate to accelerate progress in selected areas that now limit development of a quantitative understanding of electrochemical systems, from a macroscopic level down to the molecular scale. Of highest priority is the need for improved models and both quantitative theoretical and experimental approaches for

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4 The extended structure of interracial regions (solid-solid, solid-liquid, liquid- gas, liquid- liquid) . Charge transfer and adsorption phenomena at electrified Interfaces, including plasma-solid systems Transport through surface films and coatings, including membranes, ionic and electronic conducting polymers, fast ionic conducting solids, and passive corrosion films Dimensional and morphological stability during operation of porous electrode structures and during deposition and etching processes Advanced electrochemical engineering methods for the design of high-performance processes and devices In additions we recommend that a separate assessment be made of scientific and technological opportunities in the area of electro- chemical surface processing. A detailed assessment of these opportunities is given in Chapter 5. Industries based on these phenomena represent one of the largest electrochemical technologies on the basis of value added (exceeding $10 billion per year in the United States). In response to needs and new-found capabilities, the field is currently expanding rapidly in the discovery of new materials, novel coatings, and thin films. Improved fundamental understanding of solid-liquid interface structure, the role of additives, surface shape evolution, and simulation of transport and reaction during high-rate processing is needed. 3. Advances in Instrumentation Conclusion: Advancements in instrumental techniques make possible major gains in the understanding of the structural and dynamic properties of electrochemical systems and set the stage for the next generation of applications. The understanding of electrochemical systems thus far has been based principally on the use of measurements that do not directly yield information at the molecular level. Until very recently, scientists have not had access to information about chemical species at electro- chemical interfaces of the type that has played, for example, such an important role in understanding the chemistry of molecules in the bulk phases. Recent advances in instrumental techniques, however, promise access to molecular-level information about electrochemical systems that heretofore has been unavailable. This exciting development opens up important new opportunities in fundamental and applied science.

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5 Accordingly, we recommend that advanced methods for characterizing interfacial structure and dynamics be cleveloped vigorously. A panel was established by the committee to study and make recommendations on experimental methods. Its findings have been issued separately (NMAB 438-3, In Situ Characterization of Electrc.crcemi~al Processes), and its conclusions and recommendations are summarized in Chapter 6. Twelve specific recommendations are set forth for special emphasis in the near term. They call, in general, for new methods that (a) can characterize interracial structure with greater chemical detail and with spatial resolution approaching the atomic scale and (b) can characterize dynamics in ways that will provide views of faster reactions. It is particularly important to establish new methods for in situ characterization-that is, direct observation in the electrochemical environment of interest. 4. Multidisciplinary Approach for Complex Problem Areas Conclusion: A multidisciplinary approach will be essential to solving many outstanding problems in electrochemical technologies. Societal needs and market forces for specific devices and processes are often deeply segmented from each other and are thus unable to work together to create a cohesive multidisciplinary research base. Although fundamental understanding of electrochemical phenomena has advanced substantially in the past decade within separate traditional disciplines, application of this knowledge to complex systems remains haphazard. The federal government has recognized the importance of multidisciplinary research and development in a variety of areas. Electrochemical science and engineering should have a similar support structure. Accordingly, we recommend that focused federal action support a broader, multidisciplinary research and technology base for electro- cher'~ical science and engineering. Among those applications addressed in Chapter 5 where focused multidisciplinary research would exert a highly visible impact are corrosion, microelectronic devices, advanced materials processing, and health care. Improved institutional and collaborative arrangements are needed to facilitate a multidisciplinary approach and to transfer scientific knowledge into practice. Educational needs are addressed in Chapter 7. This recommendation is especially warranted and timely for electrochemical corrosion, most of which cannot be avoided with present technology and which costs the nation an estimated $120 billion annually. A panel was established by the committee to study and make recommendations in this field. Its findings have been issued separately (NMAB 438-2, A Plan for Advancing Electrochemical Corrosion Science arid

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6 Technology), and its conclusions and recommendations are listed in Chapter 5. 5. Effective Science and Technology Transfer Conclusion: The United States must be much more effective in transforming electrochemical research results into new and improved products. In the international competition in rapidly evolving technologies, a valuable asset of the United States is its historically strong research position, a strength that must be protected and enhanced. Foreign countries have aggressively used the results of U.S. research to develop new products that are subsequently sold in the United States. Examples include advanced batteries, sensors, and microelectronic devices. If new markets are to be captured by the United States, more applied research and exploratory development are essential to improve the efficiency of transition from research discovery to early stages of technology evaluation. In the electrochemical field, the transfer of scientific results into technology is carried out ineffectively in the United States. Accordingly, we recommend that federal support be increased substantially in applied research and exploratory development of targeted areas that have significant economic leverage, with the increase being on tile order of $60 million per year. Background documentation for this recommendation is given in Chapter 4. The goal of this recommendation is to strengthen U.S. capability to benefit economically from its strong basic research program on electrochemical phenomena. Even with the increase recommended, the level of federal support of the electrochemical field (relative to its economic impact) will be well below the average for all federal R&D support. Four areas for introducing new U.S. technology in the marketplace were identified earlier under Conclusion 1. The committee notes that in one area- advanced energy conversion devices federal funding underpinning commercial development of advanced batteries and fuel cells has been substantially reduced; the planning level for fiscal year 1987 is about half the 1984 level. Furthermore, we recommend that a more effective process for science and technology transfer be established for utilization of electrochemical research. Three issues need to be addressed. First, institutional barriers, both university and federal, should be reduced to encourage individual researchers and inventors to initiate technological ventures. Second, joint efforts among industry, government, and universities should be developed with the goal of bringing into close proximity trained personnel from these communities.

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7 Third, effective mechanisms to accomplish these goals need to be found; these may include sabbaticals or internships for individuals, education programs (Chapter 7), and establishment of temporary initiatives involving workers from government, industries, and academe to convert research results into products (Chapter 4~. Science and technology transfer is, in general, a continuing need, although it will be transitory for individual tasks federal support to nurture the initial phase of concept transfer, and industrial support for later phases of development. 6. Perspective and Scope of Overall Federal Program Conclusion: Electrochemical phenomena play an essential role in the economic well-being, security, and health of the nation, and the goal of federal support should be to foster a broad science and technology base in this multidfisciplinary field. The diversity and socioeconomic impact of electrochemical phenomena on U.S. society are discussed in Chapter 3. In spite of their importance, an overview of the federal support of this field given in Chapter 4 shows that funding is provided largely within agency programs whose primary focuses are other than electrochemical ones. As a result, electrochemical aspects are viewed in too narrow a framework. Accordingly, we recommend that a new perspective on electro- chemical and corrosion phenomena be established in federal programs. Increased emphasis is needed in government programs to encourage the development of advanced ideas in electrochemical science and engineering. This emphasis can best be achieved by funding agencies supporting the field as a multidisciplinary thrust area.

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