Materials Science

Advancing the science and technology of materials

From actinides and architected materials to polymers and energetic materials, LLNL’s Materials Science Division (MSD) is constantly innovating in materials science.

Our multidisciplinary teams strive to create novel materials for security and energy applications and to understand the properties and performance of materials subjected to mission-relevant conditions.

We use state-of-the-art characterization technologies coupled with modeling and simulation to meet current and future national security needs, executing world-leading, discovery-class research in the fields of materials physics and chemistry. With these capabilities, MSD supports a broad range of existing and emerging LLNL programs.

Understanding how materials behave in various conditions drives MSD scientists to develop new materials for diverse applications:

Other efforts include innovations in materials assembly and processing to capture emergent properties at the nano-, meso-, and macroscale, as well as exploiting our characterization and synthesis expertise to optimize and scale the production of functional materials.

As a recognized and trusted leader for innovative, timely, and effective materials science solutions, MSD works closely with collaborators both inside and outside LLNL on a number of key national security and energy-focused initiatives. We also mentor the next generation of materials scientists through internship and postdoctoral fellowship programs.

Explore this page to learn more about the people, research, and resources that support our mission.


Matthews, Ibo
Radousky, Harry B.
Lordi, Vincenzo

Research Areas

Two scientists inspecting equipment

Designer Materials and Applications

With access to world-class facilities and instrumentation, our researchers specialize in the synthesis, characterization, integration, and application of composites and soft matter.

Our research supports LLNL’s Global SecurityStrategic Deterrence, and NIF and Photon Science organizations. Learn more about our research groups by expanding the sections below.

Two scientists working with test equipment



Energetic Materials Science

Our researchers specialize in the modeling and experimentation surrounding the development, characterization, and effectiveness of energetic and reactive materials. We explore the energy released during energetic chemical reactions, such as in comparing composites to single-molecule materials, the mechanical response of those materials, and their long-term aging and chemical compatibility. We improve the safety, performance, and understanding of energetic materials and investigate advanced manufacturing techniques and new materials development.

We have created novel energetic materials, scaled them up to custom feedstocks, manufactured them into unique systems, and tested their performance.

Our researchers support research at the Energetic Materials Center (EMC). Learn more about each research group by expanding the sections below.

Workers checking laser equipment

Materials for Laser Systems

To further LLNL’s national security mission, our scientists develop novel materials and precision assembly and characterization techniques for experiments at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) and other high-power laser facilities.

To learn more about our research, visit the Materials for Laser Systems website.

Learn more about our research groups by expanding the sections below.

Three scientists discussing in front of computer monitors

Materials Structure and Properties

Our researchers strive to understand the properties and performance of materials under various conditions to support fundamental science projects and programmatic missions across LLNL. Our capabilities allow us to directly observe and characterize complex material structure and events, leading to a fundamental understanding of properties and allowing us to define models that aid in the design of new and improved materials and devices. Learn more about our research groups by expanding the sections below.

A simulated material

Materials Theory, Modeling, and Simulation

Using high-performance computing resources, our experts build versatile massively parallel computing capabilities for investigating chemical, electronic, structural, and kinetic properties of materials. These tools address critical challenges in clean energy, nuclear nonproliferation, and extreme-condition science.

To support both basic science and programmatic missions, we strive to ensure that our computational resources provide reliable, accurate results for use in theoretical and experimental research and discovery.

Learn more about our research groups by expanding the sections below.

Career Opportunities

Our exciting work would not be possible without dedicated staff who advance materials science every day. We’re always looking for talented scientists to join our multidisciplinary materials science teams.

Browse our open positions or read about our two summer student internship programs: Computational Chemistry and Materials Science Summer Institute and Materials and Chemistry Institute (MaCI) Summer Program.

In the News

Capabilities & Facilities

Our researchers utilize world-class scientific capabilities and modern high-performance computing facilities to support Laboratory programs. Listed below are some of LLNL’s state-of-the-art capabilities commonly used by our scientists.