Condensed Phase and Interfacial Molecular Science

The CPIMS program accepts and reviews proposals continuously under the annual Funding Opportunity Announcement entitled, “Continuation of Solicitation for the Office of Science Financial Assistance Program” available on the Open FOA page. Preproposals or white papers are strongly encouraged for all new proposals. Please contact the program manager prior to submission.

The CPIMS program emphasizes basic research at the boundary of chemistry and physics, pursuing a molecular-level understanding of chemical, physical, and electron- and photon-driven processes in liquids and at interfaces. With its foundation in chemical physics, the impact of this crosscutting program on DOE missions is far reaching, including energy utilization, catalytic and separation processes, chemical synthesis, energy storage, and subsurface chemical and transport processes. Experimental and theoretical investigations in the condensed phase and at interfaces aim at elucidating the molecular-scale chemical and physical properties and interactions that govern chemical reactivity, solute/solvent structure and transport.  Studies of reaction dynamics at well-characterized surfaces and clusters lead to the development of theories on the molecular origins of surface-mediated catalysis and heterogeneous chemistry. Studies of model condensed-phase systems target first-principles understanding of molecular reactivity and dynamical processes in solution and at interfaces, including complex interfaces. Fundamental studies of reactive processes driven by radiolysis in condensed phases and at interfaces provide improved understanding of radiation-driven chemistry in nuclear fuel and waste environments. Investigations at model interfaces seek to understand processes underlying atomically precise synthesis, which could have an impact ranging from heterogeneous catalysis to microelectronics.

Basic research is also supported to develop new experimental and theoretical tools that push the horizon of spatial and temporal resolution needed to probe chemical behavior selectively at interfaces and in solution, enabling studies of composition, structure, bonding and reactivity at the molecular level. The transition from molecular-scale chemistry to collective phenomena in complex systems is also of interest, allowing knowledge gained at the molecular level to be exploited through the dynamics and kinetics of collective interactions. In this manner, the desired evolution is toward predictive capabilities that span the microscopic to mesoscale domains enabling the computation of individual molecular interactions as well as their role in complex, collective behavior at continuum scales.

Some examples of recent awards managed in the CPIMS portfolio: (1) Studies of how applied electric fields influence ion hydration properties and water organization at the air/aqueous interface; (2) research that pushes accurate quantum simulations toward large mesoscale systems; (3) explorations of multidimensional infrared microscopy for visualizing chemical dynamics in heterogeneous environments; (4) investigations of photochemical reactions of relevance to chemical synthesis in charged micro-droplets; (5) theoretical studies of rare events in molecular simulations in aqueous systems, such as heterogeneous nucleation; (6) studies of ion solvation and charge transfer at complex interfaces using nonlinear soft x-ray spectroscopy; and (7) research on understanding chemical bond dynamics in solution using mixed quantum/classical molecular dynamics simulations.

To obtain a more detailed description about this research area, please see the proceedings of our Principal Investigators' Meetings. To better understand how this research area fits within the Department of Energy's Office of Science, please refer to the Basic Energy Science's organization chart and budget request.

The CPIMS program does not fund research in bulk fluid mechanics or fluid dynamics, applications such as the development of micro-scale devices, and research that is of principal importance to medical applications.

Other questions about this research area should be addressed by email to the Program Manager, Dr. Gregory Fiechtner.

Annual Meeting Books

Each year, the CPIMS program holds an annual meeting. The annual meeting books contain an abstract corresponding to each project that receives funding from the CPIMS program. Therefore, the books provide an informative snapshot of the program in time. You can download the five most recent books here: