Welcome to 
Inquiry 2011Issue 1

"Materials Discovery, Design and Synthesis"

This issue of Inquiry highlights the process of systematically developing new materials. The process involves theoretical modeling, informed experimentation and precise characterization to predict what properties a material will have, actually create the material and then measure the properties to determine the success of the synthesis. This new approach to materials development relies on close integration of the three aspects, an interdisciplinary approach that has long been a hallmark of research at The Ames Laboratory. In the issue, you'll find examples where the theoretical predictions were used to formulate the composition of the actual experimental materials and see how another research group is using cues from nature to develop new, bio-inspired materials.

Inquiry is a biannual science magazine highlighting research at Ames laboratory. Below you'll find links to the individual articles. To download a pdf version of the complete issue, click here or on the cover image (at right).

For additional information about the Ames Laboratory or any of the topics covered in this publication, please contact:

Inquiry Editor
Ames Laboratory
111 TASF
Ames, IA 50011-3020
(515) 294-9557

This is an enhanced X-ray diffraction image of a
bismuth-selenium-tellurium topological insulator
crystal grown at Ames Laboratory based on
theoretical predictions of certain electrical properties.

 Image Mirale of Materials
Ames Laboratory contributes to the success of the PBS prime-time series"Making Stuff."  (Go to article)
 Image New Materials by Design
Discovering new materials may always have its “eureka” moments, but the evolving process at Ames Lab is a collaborative mix of theory, experimentation and characterization that’s driving informed discovery to synthesis by design. (Go to article)
 Image Head of the Class in Superconductivity
Ames Lab researchers have been at the forefront of discovery for a new class of iron-arsenide superconductors, from developing the first crystals and safely handling the materials to training most of the researchers currently studying within the field. (Go to article)
 Image Theory in the Driver's Seat
A group of Ames Lab researchers used data calculated by a theorist to modify a complex intermetallic compound at the atomic level to change the material’s fundamental magnetic characteristics, not unlike the process bioengineers use when splicing genes to create synthetic organisms. (Go to article)
 Image Taking Cues from Nature
Mother Nature provides a dazzling array of materials, and a team of Ames Lab researchers is finding some clues into how she does it and using that information to develop bio-inspired materials. (Go to article)
 Image  Function Follows Form
Fascinating metamaterials don’t follow ordinary principles so it’s not surprising that Ames Lab researchers are looking at potential properties they want the material to have and designing them to perform in particular ways. (Go to article)
  Director's Message