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Materials for the Future

The Lab’s six Science Pillars harness our scientific capabilities for national security solutions.


  • Pillar Contact
  • Andrew Dattelbaum
  • Email
Materials for the Future Science


The Laboratory’s Materials for the Future (pdf) strategy is driven by our national security priorities of nuclear deterrence, energy security, and global security. The overarching goal is to support our mission by providing materials with controlled functionality and predictable performance with the agility to respond to ongoing and emerging mission needs. Fulfillment of the material’s strategy supports meeting today’s deliverables while preparing for tomorrow’s challenges.

Materials for the Future pillar strategy

We pursue the discovery science and engineering for advanced and new materials to intentionally control functionality and predict performance to enable our missions.

  • Predictable performance: the ability to reliably and consistently forecast how a material will perform over its lifetime.
  • Controlled functionality: the actual design and tailoring of a material’s properties that were previously unattainable or not available with traditional techniques.

We predict performance and control functionality through forefront science and engineering that crosscuts three science themes:

  • Defects and Interfaces
  • Extreme Environment
  • Emergent Phenomena

Los Alamos areas of leadership in Materials for the Future

Historical roots of the Materials for the Future pillar

Exploring the physics, chemistry, and metallurgy of materials has been a primary focus of Los Alamos since its founding. Our Laboratory’s proud history of advancing the science of materials includes discoveries instrumental in ending World War II.

Subsequent advances in understanding nuclear materials, developing insensitive high explosives, and creating materials for fusion reactions, radiation casings, and neutron sources have enabled a safe, reliable nuclear weapons deterrent. Los Alamos’s materials science expertise has been instrumental in keeping the world safe for more than 70 years and it will be vital for a future world with evolving and emerging threats.