Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Mission-driven science and technology advancing the security and well-being of the nation


Photo of Glenn Fox, PLS Associate Director

Glenn Fox


Although not often thought of as such, LLNL is by any measure a leading materials research laboratory. Every day we advance the fundamental and leading-edge materials science that is central to the Laboratory's research endeavors and mission. Our multidisciplinary Materials Science Division (MSD) is dedicated to creating novel materials and understanding the properties and performance of materials subjected to extreme conditions. We use state-of-the-art characterization technologies coupled with modeling and simulation to meet current and future national security needs. Growth areas include metallurgy, material corrosion and degradation, nanomaterials and assembly, and computational materials science. From actinides and lanthanides to explosives and polymers, MSD is constantly innovating at the intersection of chemistry, materials science, and condensed-matter physics.

October 28, 2016

Field hydro frac 3D plot

GEOS Team Aims for Exascale Target

Massively parallel physics simulations provide Lawrence Livermore with a wealth of data to complement experimental observation. Within the Physical and Life Sciences Directorate, computational geoscience is a cornerstone of the Atmospheric, Earth, and Energy Division's (AEED) efforts to advance energy and environmental technology. Because the nation's security depends in part on energy independence, a Livermore team developed GEOS—a three-dimensional, multi-physics modeling code that addresses problems of subsurface fracturing in rock. A key feature of GEOS is the ability to simulate the evolution of hydraulically driven fractures through rock. Hydraulic fracturing has driven the oil and gas boom over the last decade, but comprehensive understanding of the physical mechanisms that govern the process remains elusive.

September 15, 2016

An independent compound chondrule consisting of barred olivine and porphyritic olivine section in the meteorite NWA 2372 CK4. Image courtesy of John Kashuba.

Laboratory researchers find Earth composed of different materials than primitive meteorites

Scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have found that, contrary to popular belief, the Earth is not comprised of the same material found in primitive meteorites (also known as chondrites).

This is based on the determination that the abundance of several neodymium (Nd) isotopes are different in the Earth and in chondritic meteorites.

A long-standing theory assumes that the chemical and isotopic composition of most elements in the bulk silicate Earth is the same as primitive meteorites.

However, 10 years ago it was discovered that rocks on the surface of the Earth had a higher abundance of 142Nd than primitive meteorites, leading to a hypothesis that Earth had either a hidden reservoir of Nd in its mantle or inherited more of the parent isotope 146smarium (Sm), which subsequently decayed to 142Nd.

September 14, 2016

LLNL researchers are working on a chlamydia vaccine. Image courtesy of National Cancer Institute.

Lab team wins National Institutes of Health two-year grant to develop chlamydia vaccine

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, with UC Irvine and Synthetic Genomics, won a two-year $485,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to explore new ways to develop a chlamydia vaccine.

The team's project, "Synthetic Generation of a chlamydia Vaccine," uses bioengineering to formulate a major outer membrane protein (MOMP) vaccine. This protein has proved effective in preventing the disease in mice and had promising results in non-human primate vaccine studies.

Chlamydia trachomatis is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection worldwide, with more than 90 million new cases of the infection each year. Treatment is available. However, antibiotics do not prevent reoccurrences. If the infection is left untreated in women, chlamydia can lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy and preterm birth, and in newborns conjunctivitis and pneumonia.

February 3, 2017

Meet Tom Braun.

Meet Ivy Krystal Jones

Ivy Krystal Jones is a postdoc working in the High Pressure Physics/Physics (Materials Science) Division of the Physical & Life Sciences Directorate.

Jones received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Tuskegee University, a master's in biotechnology and chemical sciences from Roosevelt University, a master's in mechanical engineering from Tuskegee University, and a master's and Ph.D. in physics from Hampton University.

"I'm working on fabricating functionally graded solid-state laser gain media via direct ink writing and transparent ceramic processing."

January 27, 2017

Meet Tom Braun.

Meet Tom Braun

Tom Braun is a graduate scholar at Lawrence Livermore working in the Nanoscale Integration Science and Technology, Materials Science Division of the Physical & Life Sciences Directorate.quizzically glances at your poster, and asks you for a short synopsis of your research for the non-specialist. How do you reply?

Braun received his master's degree in physics from Technical University Munich, Germany and his Ph.D. in materials science from Technical University Darmstadt, Germany.

"My research focuses on the integration of nanostructured materials into functional devices. Specifically, I am working on the fabrication of functional, uniform thin film coatings on spherical surfaces. When certain nanoporous coatings are applied on the inside of a sphere, for example, they become very interesting to the inertial confinement fusion (ICF) community since they can be used as a surrogate for cryogenic deuterium-tritium (DT) fuel ice layers, or to bring dopants for diagnostics and nuclear physics experiments in direct contact with the DT fuel."

October 26, 2016

Research Slam! winners pictured from left: Ramya Tunuguntla, Michael Homel, Anna Belle and Daniel McCartt.

PLS postdocs embrace Research Slam

Picture this: it's the day of your first poster presentation as a postdoc. You've picked out your best professional suit (or your only professional suit, reserved just for this occasion), your poster has been beautifully printed with help from the Lab's print plant, and your heart is racing with nerves and excitement. Your first interested visitor stops by, quizzically glances at your poster, and asks you for a short synopsis of your research for the non-specialist. How do you reply?

Preparing for those types of scenarios is exactly what the Lab's first Research Slam was all about. A competition to see who could give the best three-minute research presentation, using no more than three slides, the Research Slam was an opportunity for postdocs to showcase their research, as well as strengthen their presentation skills, particularly for a non-specialist audience.