Los Alamos National Laboratory
Polymers and Coatings (MST-7)

Fundamental Polymer Research

The Surface Science and Coatings Team employs a variety of coating and bulk synthesis techniques to solve problems related to conventional and nuclear defense, high-energy-density physics, energy security, advanced materials for specialty applications, and nanotechnology. General coatings capabilities include deposition via several variations of physical and chemical vapor deposition (thin films or free-standing parts) and infiltration methods for the production of advanced composite materials (structural components or flexible cloths). Processes have been developed for the production of metals, alloys, polymers, diamond/DLC, and a wide range of ceramics. In addition to vapor deposition, the team has the ability to produce three-dimensional polymeric parts via a three-dimensional “printing” process. This capability can be used for rapid prototyping or for the production of functional parts. The team is also engaged in the development of advanced membrane materials, such as porous hollow fibers for separations technology. This work is performed in collaboration with the petroleum industry and has to potential to significantly impact the nation’s energy security. Finally, the team has broad expertise in the characterization methods that are routinely applied in the course of materials development, such as optical spectroscopy, thermal analyses, electron microscopy, ion beam analysis, and x-ray diffraction.


Polymer synthesis supports programmatic goals by providing synthesis and procedures for replacement polymers and isotopic labeling to study polymer degradation chemistry. Synthesis expertise also includes research in foams and aerogel technology for fusion applications, as well as inorganic materials and complexes in support of nanotechnology research efforts.


Spectroscopy efforts include vibrational (infrared and Raman) techniques as methods to study polymer and materials anomalies, degradation chemistry, reaction kinetics, along with research into spectroscopic imaging and image analysis. Analytical chemistry efforts include a number of hyphenated analytical techniques such as thermal gravimetric analysis coupled with mass spectrometry (TGA-MS) or Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR).

Team Leader, Dominic S. Peterson (Dom), Acting

  • Rob Gilbertson
  • Chris Hamilton
  • Kimberly Obrey
  • Miguel Santiago Cordoba
  • Cindy Welch

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