About Us

The scientific mission of Ensembles of Photosynthetic Nanoreactors (EPN) EFRC is to understand, predict, and control the activity, selectivity, and stability of solar water splitting nanoreactors in isolation and as ensembles.

Research goals are to extend photocarrier lifetimes (>10x radiative "limit") and control their dynamics during infrequent photon absorption events; enhance charge-separation yields (>50%) and redox selectivity (>90%), and therefore stability, under conditions of low-flux carrier transport (i.e. low current density); and program ensembles of artificial photosystems for large solar-to-hydrogen (STH) efficiencies (>10% STH).

To achieve these goals, EPN is developing powerful new and synergistic experimental and theoretical capabilities in nanomaterials synthesis, multiphysics modeling, and coupled correlative microscopies and spectroscopies.

Results across a multitude of length and time scales teach physicochemical principles that dictate the behavior of ensembles of nanoreactors.

This information serves as inputs to inverse design analyses, whose outputs guide optimization through a codesign feedback loop for bottom-up synthesis of multicomponent interphase coatings.

EPN strives to advance the frontiers of discovery and fundamental interdisciplinary knowledge in photochemical energy conversion basic research, thereby helping to train the next generation of diverse scientists and engineers who will positively impact our planet. Moreover, due to EPN’s use-inspired motivation, outcomes of the project may be transformative, providing critical details to inform a route to meeting the DOE Hydrogen Shot cost target.

EPN is an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science under Award Number DE-SC0023431. It consists of experts from distinct, but convergent, scientific and engineering communities with an extensive track record of collaboration.

EPN is led by Shane Ardo at the University of California Irvine with co-investigators from the state of California, the state of Colorado, and the US Northeast.


University of California Irvine
Shane Ardo
Nien-Hui Ge
Xiaoqing Pan
Joseph Patterson
Jenny Yang

California Institute of Technology
Scott Cushing

California State University Long Beach
Young-Seok Shon

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Tadashi Ogitsu

Sandia National Laboratories
Albert Talin


Colorado State University
Justin Sambur

Fort Lewis College
Kenneth Miller

National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Katherine Hurst

University of Colorado Boulder
Gordana Dukovic


City University of New York - Medgar Evers College
Oluwaseun Salako

Columbia University
Daniel Esposito

University of Michigan
Rohini Bala Chandran

Yale University
Shu Hu