Overview of Basic Research Efforts:
The Materials & Engineering Physics Program at the Ames Laboratory is committed to conducting world-class research that seeks to further fundamental understanding of materials phenomena. 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 program currently consists of the following four major areas of research focus:
- MagnetismAimed at understanding the interaction of competing energy contributions in determining critical magnetic phenomena.
- Science of Amorphous and Aperiodic MaterialsAimed at understanding (i) the correlation between short-range atomic order and the devitrification and deformation behavior in amorphous systems and (ii) the role of crystal chemistry (i.e., structure, bonding and lattice energies) in controlling the structural stability of aperiodic systems.
- Solidification ScienceAimed at understanding of the dynamic processes of nucleation, interface destabilization and morphological evolution in terms of the fundamental response of crystal-melt interfaces to local conditions.
- Extraordinary Responsive Rare Earth MaterialsConcerned with the unique magnetic-martensitic phase transformation in R5(SixGe1-x)4 materials, where R is Gd and other lanthanides, to achieve understanding of the underlying electronic structure and the microscopic interactions bringing about extremely strong couplings of the magnetic moments with the lattice.
A multi-researcher effort entitled, "Predicting Metallic Liquid Structures and the Associated Competition Between Crystallization and Vitrification During Cooling," commenced at the start of FY2003. This effort will strongly complement many of the studies being conducted in the Science of Amorphous and Aperiodic Materials and Solidification Science focus areas by establishing accurate fundamental descriptions of the short-range order, atomic motions and transport properties in selected metallic liquid and solid systems.
There are also a number of research efforts within the Program that are outside the scope of the main research areas. Examples of those research efforts include: Mechanics and Mechanisms of Deformation and Microstructural Evolution, "ab initio Studies of Defect Structures and Phase Transformations," "Anomalously Ductile Intermetallic Compounds," and "Mechano-chemistry of Ionic and Molecular Materials."
The Materials Preparation Center (MPC), which is managed by the Materials and Engineering Physics Program, enables fundamental research by providing users high-purity materials of tightly controlled chemistries that are not available from commercial suppliers.