NETL’s world-class work in materials engineering and manufacturing designs, develops and deploys advanced materials for use in energy applications and extreme service environments. In 2019, a number of significant developments yielded promising results that support NETL’s mission of creating technologies that secure and enhance the nation’s energy foundation for future generations. Functional Materials The Lab’s functional materials research aids in developing technologies that can perform unique functions or exhibit properties not usually found in nature. This expands their number of uses and finds new purposes for materials already in use in the energy industry. For example, NETL researchers developed a cost-effective method to produce quantum graphene dots from domestic coal supplies that are useful in a range of energy applications and products such as sensors, solar cells and more. The dots are only a few hundred atoms in diameter, but their unique size imparts optical and electronic properties to coal-based derivatives that aid in manufacturing processes.