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Recent Achievements

The following are examples of how Ames Laboratory contributes to:

Industrial Competitiveness

  • Novel, platinum-modified nickel-aluminide coatings that deliver unprecedented oxidation and phase stability as bond coat layers in thermal barrier coatings, which could improve the durability of gas turbine engines, allowing them to operate at higher temperatures and extending their lifetimes.
  • Adaptation of a microtransfer mold technique to make multilayered photonic bandgap crystals at micron- and submicron length scales in the open air, with the potential of significantly reducing fabrication costs.
  • Research confirming negative refraction can be observed in photonic crystals in the microwave region of the electromagnetic spectrum, which moves physicists one step closer to constructing materials that exhibit negative refraction at optical wavelengths and realizing the much-sought-after superlens.
  • Discovery of intermetallic compounds that are ductile at room temperature. could be used to produce practical materials from coatings that are highly resistant to corrosion and strong at high temperatures to flexible superconducting wires and powerful magnets.

National Security

  • Development of heterogenous catalysts whose ability to be recycled could help reduce costs for production of biodiesel fuel and eliminate waste-storage costs.
  • Research on the photophysics of luminescent organic thin films and organic light-emitting devices resulted in a novel integrated oxygen sensor and a new sensor company.

Human Health

  • Lead-free solder that is stronger, easier to use, stands up better in high-heat
    conditions, and is environmentally safe. Three licensing agreements have been signed on the lead-free solder.
  • A biosensor technology that helps to determine an individual’s risk of getting cancer from chemical pollutants.
  • A capillary electrophoresis unit that can analyze multiple chemical samples
    simultaneously. This unit has applications in the pharmaceutical, genetics, medical, and forensics fields. This technology has been the basis of a spin-off business.


  • Material for magnetic refrigeration that improves refrigerator efficiency by an
    estimated 40 percent in large-scale refrigeration units and air conditioners.
  • Developed a mechanochemical process that is a solvent-free way to produce organic compounds in solid state. Being used to study new, complex hydride materials that could provide a solution for high-capacity, safe hydrogen storage needed to make hydrogen-powered vehicles viable.
  • The design and demonstration of photonic band gap crystals, a geometrical
    arrangement of dielectric materials that allows light to pass except when the
    frequency falls within a forbidden range. These materials would make it easier to develop numerous practical devices, including optical lasers, optical computers, and solar cells.