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Please Note that a Letter of Intent is due Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Program Area Overview


The Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES) supports fundamental research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels in order to provide the foundations for new energy technologies and to support DOE missions in energy, environment, and national security. The results of BES-supported research are routinely published in the open literature.

A key function of the program is to plan, construct, and operate premier scientific user facilities for the development of novel nanomaterials and for materials and chemical characterization through x-ray and neutron scattering; the former is accomplished through five Nanoscale Science Research Centers and the latter is accomplished through the world's largest suite of light source and neutron scattering facilities. These national resources are available free of charge to all researchers based on the quality and importance of proposed nonproprietary experiments.

A major objective of the BES program is to promote the transfer of the results of our basic research to advance and create technologies important to Department of Energy (DOE) missions in areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy resources, improved use of fossil fuels, the mitigation of the adverse impacts of energy production and use, and future nuclear energy sources. The following set of technical topics represents one important mechanism by which the BES program augments its system of university and laboratory research programs and integrates basic science, applied research, and development activities within the DOE.

For additional information regarding the Office of Basic Energy Sciences priorities, click here.




Maximum Phase I Award Amount: $150,000

Maximum Phase II Award Amount: $1,000,000

Accepting SBIR Applications: YES

Accepting STTR Applications: YES

The Department of Energy seeks to advance chemical imaging technologies that facilitate fundamental research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels. The Department is particularly interested in forefront advances in imaging techniques that combine molecular-scale spatial resolution and ultrafast temporal resolution to explore energy flow, molecular dynamics, breakage, or formation of chemical bonds, or conformational changes in nanoscale systems.


Grant applications are sought in the following subtopics:


a. High Spatial Resolution Ultrafast Spectroscopy

Chemical information associated with molecular-scale processes is often available from optical spectroscopies involving interactions with electromagnetic radiation ranging from the infrared spectrum to x-rays. Ultrafast laser technologies can provide temporally resolved chemical information via optical spectroscopy or laser-assisted mass sampling techniques. These approaches provide time resolution ranging from the breakage or formation of chemical bonds to conformational changes in nanoscale systems but generally lack the simultaneous spatial resolution required to analyze individual molecules. Grant applications are sought that make significant advancements in spatial resolution towards the molecular scale for ultrafast spectroscopic imaging instrumentation available to the research scientist. The nature of the advancement may span a range of approaches including sub-diffraction limit illumination or detection, selective sampling, and coherent or holographic signal analysis.

Questions – Contact: James Rustad,


b. Time-Resolved Chemical Information from Hybrid Probe Microscopies

Probe microscopy instruments (including AFM and STM) have been developed that offer spatial resolution of molecules and even chemical bonds. While probe-based measurements alone do not typically offer the desired chemical information on molecular timescales, methods that take advantage of electromagnetic interactions or sampling with probe tips have been demonstrated. Grant applications are sought that would make available to scientists new hybrid probe instrumentation with significant advancements in chemical and temporal resolution towards that required for molecular scale chemical interactions. The nature of the advancement may span a range of approaches and probe techniques, from tip-enhanced or plasmonic enhancement of electromagnetic spectroscopies to probe-induced sample interactions that localize spectroscopic methods to the molecular scale.

Questions – Contact: James Rustad,


c. Other

In addition to the specific subtopics listed above, the Department invites grant applications in other areas that fall within the scope of the topic description above.

Questions – Contact: James Rustad,



1.     U.S. Department of Energy, 2006, Office of Science Notice DE-FG01-05ER05-30, Basic Research for Chemical Imaging, BES Chemical Imaging Research Solicitation. (


2.     National Research Council, 2006, Visualizing Chemistry, The Progress and Promise of Advanced Chemical Imaging, National Academies Press. (

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