Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

Basic Energy Sciences

Supporting research to understand, predict and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels.

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  • Michael Hundley
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Research fosters fundamental scientific discoveries to meet energy, environmental, and national security challenges

The DOE Office of Science's Basic Energy Sciences program equips scientists with a powerful new generation of tools, including advanced-light and neutron-scattering sources, to explore matter on the atomic and molecular scales.

Over the past 20 years, this work has led to six Nobel Prizes.

Through its Energy Frontier Research Centers, Nanoscale Science Research Centers, and core programs, the Basic Energy Sciences program supports research to understand, predict and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels. This research is fostering the fundamental scientific discoveries needed to meet energy, environmental, and national security challenges.

In addition to the nine core research programs led by Los Alamos researcher, Los Alamos National Laboratory is home to two Basic Energy Sciences research centers:

  • The Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT) focuses on exploring the path from scientific discovery to the integration of nanostructures into the micro- and macro-worlds. This path involves experimental and theoretical exploration of behavior, understanding new performance regimes and concepts, testing designs, and integrating nanoscale materials and structures. CINT scientific thrust areas include nanophotonics and optical nanomaterials, quantum materials systems, in-situ characterization and nanomechanics, and soft, bio and composite nanomaterials. CINT is jointly administered by Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories. It makes use of a wide range of specialized facilities including the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratoryat Los Alamos.
  • The Fundamental Understanding of Transport Under Reactor Extremes (FUTURE), an Energy Frontier Research Center, is dedicated to understanding how the extreme conditions encountered by materials in nuclear reactors -- radiation damage, corrosive environments, high stresses and high temperatures -- couple to impact the properties of the material. During irradiation, high concentrations of non-equilibrium defects are created as energetic particles smash into the material. These same defects are responsible for the transport of atoms that drive phenomena such as corrosion. However, because there are so many more and new types of defects created during irradiation, the fundamental mechanisms of corrision will change. Further, these mechanisms of atomic motion will depend on local stresses and temperature excursions that vary within the material. The goal of FUTURE is to understand how all of these effects couple to change how the material will evolve.
Los Alamos BES Principal Investigators have been the recipients of three DOE E.O. Lawrence Awards, two Office of Science Early Career Awards, and two Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers.