Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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Understanding the properties and performance of materials in support of scientific, technological, and programmatic missions

Division Leader: Robert Maxwell
Deputy Division Leader, Operations: Harry Radousky
Deputy Division Leader, Science & Technology: Tony van Buuren
Division Administrator:  Kristine Ramirez   +1-925-423-4681

The Materials Science Division (MSD) employs state-of-the-art experimental, theoretical, and computational tools to support the core scientific and technological missions of the Laboratory, executing world-leading, discovery-class research in the fields of materials physics and chemistry. The MSD research portfolio is driven by the Nation’s needs in national security, energy security, high-energy-density science, basic science and advanced technology.

Designer Materials and Applications

Actinides & Lanthanide Science

Group Leader:   Scott McCall

The Actinides & Lanthanide Science group focuses on experimental research aimed at understanding the structural, chemical, mechanical, magnetic, and electronic properties of 4f- and 5f-electron systems. We maintain capabilities for handling and preparing air-sensitive samples as well as radioactive samples including transuranic materials. Our research spans myriad disciplines from synthesis to surface science to magnetism, and we deploy these competencies in support of LLNL missions for WCI, GS, and NIF as well as external sponsors.

Functional Materials Synthesis & Integration 

Group Leader:   Yong Han

The Functional Materials Synthesis & Integration group in the Materials Science Division at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory conducts research at the intersection of chemistry, materials science, and chemical engineering. Diverse materials including organic compounds, composites, and inorganic materials are synthesized, characterized and processed at various length scales spanning the nano-meso-macro regimes. The breadth of our expertise in materials synthesis, characterization, integration and application allows us to provide materials related solutions and expertise to various LLNL programs, which includes National Ignition Facility, Weapons Complex Integration, and Global Security programs. We also perform basic science R&D in support of externally funded research with energy and national security applications.

Advanced Materials Synthesis 

Group Leaders (interim):  Pat Campbell and  Nerine Cherepy

The goal of the Advanced Materials Synthesis group is to drive advances in the design and fabrication of new materials while providing leadership in materials synthesis to meet the changing needs of the Laboratory programs, particularly in the areas of high energy density science and renewable energy technologies. Our expertise lies in the areas of sol-gel and polymer science with emphasis on the fabrication of low-density cellular materials, such as aerogels. Our research efforts support a variety of LLNL missions for WCI, NIF and GS as well as external sponsors.

Nanoscale Integration Science 

Group Leader:   Trevor Willey

The Nanoscale Integration Science group focuses on the design, development, and characterization of nanoscale architectures for a wide array of applications ranging from explosive materials to next-generation batteries. Our work supports Lab missions including NIF and WCI as well as external partners like the Departments of Energy and Defense.

Materials Structure & Properties

Materials & Analytical Spectroscopy/Spectrometry

Group Leader:   Chance Carter

The Materials & Analytical Spectroscopy/Spectrometry group is at the forefront of spectroscopic characterization, managing state-of-the-art capabilities to quantitatively identify chemical species in real-world materials.

Materials Characterization

Group Leader:   Kerri Blobaum

The Materials Characterization group serves as a resource supporting many groups within MSD as well as researchers around the Laboratory. The group maintains sophisticated capabilities for electron microscopy, x-ray characterization, and sample preparation, with a special focus on handling special nuclear materials in moderate quantities. The group supports research ranging from fundamental science projects to programmatic missions in the WCI, NIF, and Engineering Directorates.

Ultrafast Materials Science

Group Leader:   Joe McKeown

The Ultrafast Materials Science group conducts research into the response of materials to strongly driven conditions. We study materials with in situ techniques that make time resolved measurements of materials structure using a Dynamic Transmission Electron Microscope (DTEM), which can characterize materials at the lengthscale of nanometers and timescale of nanoseconds, as well as optically based velocimetry techniques, pulsed x-ray radiography, and diffraction. We employ various platforms including gas guns, high energy pulsed lasers, and high explosives to yield information on structural response, dislocation nucleation and glide, twinning, and phase transformations.

Plutonium Science and Technology

Group Leader:   Brandon Chung

The Plutonium Science and Technology group possesses multidisciplinary expertise in plutonium metallurgy and analytical chemistry. We use a comprehensive suite of analytical techniques within a nuclear facility to characterize special nuclear materials and develop technologies to deliver responsive solutions to WCI, NIF, and GS as well as external sponsors.

Materials Theory Modeling & Simulation

Computational Materials Science

Group Leader:   Robert Rudd

The Computational Materials Science group conducts research on materials and dense plasmas using atomistic and mesoscopic simulation codes for basic science and in support of programmatic missions. Multiscale modeling of strength and other constitutive properties is a major part of our work. Some of our materials simulations are at the frontiers of Large-Scale Computing, using in excess of a million processors on the LLNL supercomputers. We have demonstrated expertise in developing codes (Cardioid, ddcMD, ParaDiS) for these massively parallel simulations.

Quantum Simulations 

Group Leader:   Vincenzo Lordi

The Quantum Simulations group (QSG) specializes in combining state-of-the-art quantum simulation approaches with large-scale computing resources to validate, understand and predict the properties of materials that are relevant to the national security missions of LLNL. The combination of high performance computing with advanced quantum simulations enables the accurate prediction of a wide range of materials properties and opens up the possibility to discover new materials with specific targeted properties or to examine states of matter that are difficult to access experimentally. The current major research areas within the QSG include the development and use of quantum simulations to determine the equation of state of materials under extreme conditions, the discovery and optimization of materials for energy storage and conversion technologies, the construction of realistic materials models for applications such as radiation detection, quantum computing, and optical materials, and the continual development of advanced theoretical models for electronic structure.

Energetic Materials Science

Energetic Materials

Group Leader:   Lara Leininger

The Energetic Materials group specializes in modeling and experiment surrounding the development, characterization, and surety of high-explosive materials.

Reaction Dynamics

Group Leader:   Richard Gee

The Reaction Dynamics group employs static and dynamic high-pressure techniques to probe chemical changes in matter that occur at pressures that challenge the bonding energy of atoms. We tightly couple modeling and experimental efforts to understand chemical decomposition and synthesis that occur under extreme conditions.

Material Dynamics & Kinetics

Group Leader:   Jon Belof

Materials for Laser Systems

NIF Optics & Target Materials 

Group Leader:   Suhas Bhandarkar

The NIF Optics & Target Materials group supports the the development of NIF optics through a focus on laser-matter interactions, including exploring the optical properties of materials as well as the development and propogation of damage due to high photon fluence.

Laser Materials Interaction Science 

Group Leader:   Ibo Matthews

The Laser Materials Interaction Science group supports the development and characterization of targets for advanced NIF experiments.