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Division of Materials Sciences and Engineering

Photo of Critical Materials Institute review session

Critical Materials Institute Director Alex King gives a presentation during CMI's second annual renewal review on March 4.

Ames Lab Director Adam Schwartz and Associate Director for Sponsored Research Administration Deb Covey explain BAM, a low-friction, high-wear coating, to State Senator Jerry Behn (center) during ISU Day at the State Capital on Feb. 23. The annual event features exhibits of Iowa State University research to better acquaint state legislators with what's happening on campus. Go HERE for an ISU video on the event.

Ames Middle School students confer on a bonus question enroute to a 66-16 victory over Central Academy of Des Moines to capture the 2015 Ames Laboratory Regional Middle School Science Bowl on Saturday, Feb. 21.

DMSE Vision

World-leading research in accelerated discovery, design, and synthesis of bulk and nanostructured materials with novel and controlled functionality through cross-disciplinary teams integrating state-of-the-art experimental, computational and theoretical methods.



The Division of Materials Sciences and Engineering (DMSE) performs materials research across a broad spectrum ranging from grand science challenges and discovery research which addresses fundamental limitations in our understanding of complex states of matter to directed research that guides design of new materials to advance energy technologies. Basic research conducted within the DMSE is performed primarily through funding provided by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences. Our directed research receives funding from a number of Department of Energy technologies offices including the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the Office of Fossil Energy as well as work for others contracts. 


Core Capabilities

  • Developing and utilizing advanced characterization methods, especially neutron and x-ray scattering, angle-resolved photoemission, solid-state NMR (including Dynamical Nuclear Polarization), ultra-sensitive chemical and structural analysis, and ultra-precise frequency measurements.
  • Design and synthesis of materials for energy-related applications including energy-efficient conversion, generation, transmission, and storage. Examples include invention of metamaterials, discovery of magnetocaloric materials, development of lead-free solders and magnets, and advancing materials and theory of superconductivity.
  • Developing theory and computational methods to accelerate materials discovery and design. Impacts include developing an accurate and efficient electronic structure algorithm for f-electron materials, an adaptive algorithm for crystal structure prediction and phase exploration, breakthrough tools for quantifiable spin dynamics prediction, and combining density functional theory with the coherent-potential approximation to predict bulk alloy properties.
  • Home to the well-known Materials Preparation Center (MPC), a unique national resource for making materials that enable science. Expertise includes the preparation and production of alloys, high-purity rare earth material, and single crystals.