Materials Sciences and Engineering Capabilities

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We develop and use advanced characterization methods, especially neutron and x-ray scattering, angle-resolved photoemission, solid-state NMR (including Dynamic Nuclear Polarization), ultra-sensitive chemical and structural analysis, and ultra-precise frequency measurements.

We design and synthesize 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.

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We develop 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.

We are home to the globally respected 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.

We operate the Sensitive Instrument Facility, which features state-of-the-art electron microscopes housed in a vibration- and static-free environment that allows their capabilities to shine, and sample preparation labs that take scientific testing from start to finish on site.

Our powder synthesis and development capability provides expanded use and application of metallic powders for advanced manufacturing through design, testing, production and analysis at experimental and pilot scale. 

We lead the Energy Frontier Research Center, the Center for the Advancement of Topological Semimetals (CATS). Topological semimetals are a recently discovered group of materials which hold great promise in applications like mid-infrared photodetection, light harvesting, and spintronics. CATS leads a multi-institutional effort to predict, discover, understand, manipulate, and control the unique properties of these materials.

We specialize in the understanding of quantum materials and complex states of matter, through their unique combination of expertise in synthesis, characterization, theory and modeling. Ames Lab is translating this expertise into new realms in Quantum Information Science (QIS), leading a DOE program in developing novel quantum computational algorithms that are enabling faster modeling of highly correlated material behavior on new quantum-based machines.