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Division of Chemical & Biological Sciences


Ames Laboratory scientists in the Division of Chemical and Biological Sciences are developing new methods to synthesize catalysts confined within mesoporous materials, leading to unprecedented increases in catalytic performance. Read more

[PHOTO]Theory and modeling

Researchers from the Ames Laboratory’s Division of Chemical and Biological Sciences are developing computational tools to understand diffusion and reactivity in porous materials. Read more

[PHOTO]Dynamic Nuclear Polarization

The Ames Laboratory is home to the United States’ first dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer dedicated to the study of materials science and chemistry.  Read more

[PHOTO]Laboratory-scale instrumentation for chemical analysis.

The Division of Chemical and Biological Sciences is known for laboratory-scale instrumentation development for chemical analysis. Read about dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) | Read about stimulation emission deplection (STED)


Research teams in this Division conduct fundamental and applied studies of how to control and manipulate chemicals and biological materials. We work to develop new catalysts that enable more efficient chemical reactions, discover new ways to convert plants to biofuels, and understand how solvents, such as water, affect chemical reactions or how molecules diffuse on surfaces and through tiny pores.

Developing new instruments is also at the heart of our research. Understanding Nature's fundamental building blocks requires us to be able to see things at tiny length scales and fast time scales. We are at the cutting edge of developing tools and methods for understanding what drives biological and chemical processes; we are leaders in the fields of mass spectrometric imaging, solid state NMR, Raman spectroscopy, and single particle analysis.

Recent research has led to improved processes for biodiesel production. Our fundamental studies led to the development of a commercial catalyst now sold by Albemarle Corporation. Research in our Division also led to the invention of multiplexed capillary electrophoresis, a technique that is key for DNA sequencing and was central to the Human Genome Project; all 7 billion people on Earth have been impacted by this technique.

Our Mission

To make possible fundamental discoveries about biological and chemical processes and to develop new, more efficient methods of chemical energy conversion.

See CBS By the Numbers (PDF)

Recent CBS Papers

S. Shaw, T. F. Silva, J. M. Bobbitt, F. Naab, C. L. Rodrigues, B. Yuan, J. J. Chang, X. C. Tian, E. A. Smith and L. Cademartiri, Building Materials from Colloidal Nanocrystal Assemblies: Molecular Control of Solid/Solid Interfaces in Nanostructured Tetragonal ZrO2Chemistry of Materials, 2017, 29, 7888-7900. 

R. R. Reinig, E. L. Fought, A. Ellern, T. L. Windus and A. D. Sadow, Rapid and ordered carbonylation and oxygenation of a cobalt(II) methyl, Chemical Communications, 2017, 53, 11020-11023.