MEP Program Letterhead

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Ames Laboratory and the US Department of Energy:

Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) laboratory that resides on the campus of Iowa State University (ISU), its contractor. The Laboratory was established in 1947 as a result of Iowa State’s participation in the Manhattan Project, with initial research directed at developing an entirely new processing technology for the conversion of uranium ore to high-purity uranium metal in large quantities. Today, Ames Laboratory pursues a much broader spectrum of fundamental and applied research. While the methods, facilities and research directions have changed over Ames Laboratory’s 55-year history, the tradition of and dedication to conducting world-class research have remained the highest priority. Indeed, an important strength of the Ames Laboratory is the eagerness and camaraderie amongst its researchers to team their expertise and collaborate on challenging research problems.

The Materials and Engineering Physics:

The Materials Sciences and Engineering Division of the DOE’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES) supports much of the basic research that is conducted at the Ames Laboratory. The Materials and Engineering Physics in the Laboratory receives its BES funding from the Division’s Materials and Engineering Physics Program. The core research areas for which the Ames Laboratory Materials and Engineering Physics receives BES funding are: (1) Structure and Composition of Materials; (2) Mechanical Behavior and Radiation Effects; (3) Physical Behavior of Materials; and (4) Synthesis and Processing Science.

Basic Research Efforts in the Materials and Engineering Physics:

The BES-sponsored research efforts in the Materials and Engineering Physics at the Ames Laboratory seek to further fundamental understanding of materials phenomena at reduced dimensionality and increasing levels of compositional, structural, and functional complexities. The Program is structured so as to ensure that its collective research efforts continue to address highly challenging problems that are at the forefront of research. Central to this is the teaming of researchers, both within and outside of the Program, to infuse a truly integrated approach that couples experiment to theory through modeling and simulation.

The BES-supported research within the MEP Program has been reorganized over the past year to provide even stronger support of the mission of the Division of Materials Science and Engineering within the Office of Basic Energy Sciences. This restructuring effort has been directed toward strengthening the focus of specific subtasks, creating new research thrusts to address the currently identified basic research needs within BES, and organizing an outstanding set of core research programs that are prepared to respond to future BES priorities as identified, for example, through BES sponsored Workshops. The MEP Program within the Ames Laboratory seeks to focus on the following complementary multi-investigator efforts:

The MEP Program currently consists of approximately 100 scientists, postdoctoral research associates, and students. Of this number, there are 23 senior scientists and 18 assistant scientists. Postdoctoral research associates and graduate and undergraduate students provide the balance, making major contributions to the research within the Program. Indeed, the intimate connection between Ames Laboratory and ISU introduces a strong educational component within all of the scientific programs of the Laboratory. This is certainly true with the MEP Program as a number of the Program’s senior scientists hold faculty appointments with the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at ISU. The MEP Program is strongly committed to educating the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Ultimately, the materials research in the Materials and Engineering Physics seeks to establish new tools and paradigms that enable the development of new materials and structures with desired properties.

The Materials Preparation Center

An important and unique feature of the Ames Laboratory is its Materials Preparation Center (MPC), which is managed by the Materials and Engineering Physics. The MPC is a user facility that is primarily dedicated to the preparation, purification, and characterization of metallic materials. Established in 1981, the MPC consolidates and makes available to scientists in university, industry, and government facilities the synthesis and processing capabilities developed at Ames Laboratory during the course of its extensive involvement with basic materials research. The MPC enables fundamental research by providing users, on a full cost recovery basis, high-purity materials of tightly controlled chemistries that are not available from commercial suppliers. Users may also conduct a materials processing research activity funded by, and in collaboration with, the MPC through a recently established, BES sponsored Process Science Initiative (PSI). More details on the PSI can be found at the MPC’s web site