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Supporting the Scientific Base for Competencies Essential to Sandia Missions

DOE Office of Science

The DOE Office of Science (SC) is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the U.S., providing more than 40 percent of total funding in this area. Sandia has active research programs funded by:

ARPA-E-Full-Logo-v-3.0-1024x315

ARPA-E is an innovative and collaborative government agency that brings together America’s best and brightest scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs.

The focus of Sandia’s ARPA-E program is to establish partnerships with universities, industry and other National Labs to create innovative energy solutions for the Nation through both maturation of industry capabilities and commercialization of our technologies.

  • Address Stationary and Transportation Energy pillars
  • Leverage differentiating facilities/capabilities and Research Foundations of Sandia Labs

Research Highlights

Jon Ihlefeld is awarded the American Ceramics Society’s 2017 Richard M. Fulrath Award

Jon Ihlefeld, a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories, has been selected to receive the 2017 Richard M. Fulrath Award from The American Ceramics Society. Jon was selected by unanimous decision for his contributions to electronic ceramics research and development. This award recognizes individuals under the age of 45 that have demonstrated excellence in research and development in the ceramics sciences. Presented to 2 American researchers and 3 Japanese researchers annually since 1978, this award promotes technical collaboration among the diverse cultures surrounding the Pacific Rim. Dr. Ihlefeld is internationally recognized for his work on ferroelectrics, funded, in-part, by the Laboratory Directed Research Development Office at Sandia, dielectric integration, funded, in-part, by the Office of Electricity’s Energy Storage Program managed by Dr. Imre Gyuk, and fast ion conductors, funded, in-part, by the Office of Nuclear Energy. The award will be presented at the 119th annual meeting of The American Ceramics Society, in Pittsburg PA, October 9th, 2017.

2017 ARPA-e Energy Innovation Summit

Meet our Scientists!

Stop by the main Sandia Labs Booth #505 for an opportunity to interact with SNL scientists including:

  • Laura Biedermann, R&D, Electronic, Optical, and Nano Materials Department
  • Cliff Ho, Manager, Concentrating Solar Technologies Department
  • Hongyou Fan, R&D, Advanced Materials Laboratory

Sandia Labs Featured in the Technology Showcase

Sandia Lab / Booth #506

Through the Secure and Sustainable Energy Future Mission Area, Sandia National Laboratories seeks to support the creation of a secure energy future for the US by using its capabilities to enable an uninterrupted and enduring supply of energy from domestic sources, and to assure the reliability and resiliency of the associated energy infrastructure. SNL seeks to create an energy future that is also sustainable by using its capabilities to drive the development and deployment of energy sources that are safer, cleaner, more economical and efficient, and less dependent on scarce natural resources.

ARPA-e Award-Winning Technology Booth # 515

Accelerating Low-cost Plasma Heating and Assembly (ALPHA) Project
Demonstrating Fuel Magnetization and Laser Heating Tools for Low-Cost Fusion Energy

Partners: University of Rochester 

Project Innovation + Advantages: 

Sandia National Laboratories is partnering with the Laboratory for Laser Energetics at the University of Rochester to investigate the behavior of the magnetized plasma under fusion conditions, using a fusion concept known as Magnetized Liner Inertial Fusion (MagLIF). MagLIF uses lasers to pre-heat a magnetically insulated plasma in a metal liner and then compresses the liner to achieve fusion. The research team will conduct experiments at Sandia’s large Z facility as well as Rochester’s OMEGA facilities, and will collect key measurements of magnetized plasma fuel including temperature, density, and magnetic field over time. The results will help researchers improve compression and heating performance. By using the smaller OMEGA facility, researchers will be able to conduct experiments more rapidly, speeding the learning process and validating the MagLIF approach. Sandia’s team will also use their experimental results to validate and expand a suite of simulation and numerical design tools to improve future fusion energy applications that employ magnetized inertial fusion concepts. This project will help accelerate the development of the MagLIF concept, and assist with the continued development of intermediate density approaches across the ALPHA program.

Sandia receives ARPA-e funding to monitor plant roots for drought and heat tolerance

Multi-Modal Monitoring of Plant Roots for Drought and Heat Tolerance in the U.S. Southwest – $2,400,000

The Sandia National Laboratories team will develop a set of technologies to link below ground carbon partitioning with aboveground photosynthetic measurements. They will use microneedle sensor technology, originally developed for medical applications such as glucose level monitoring, to non-destructively measure the transport and composition of plant sap and products of photosynthesis in the field. In addition, they will measure the soil chemistry near the root zone with a micro-gas chromatograph, a device used to separate and analyze individual compounds. Using data analytics and modeling, they will link these measurements together to find aboveground proxies for below ground processes. If successful, the project will allow for the selection of improved sorghum varieties with increased root biomass without excavation of roots.

View the full release or learn more about the Rhizosphere Observations Optimizing Terrestrial Sequestration ROOTS) projects here.

Controlled Self-Assembly in Ternary Polymers

Top Left: Schematic of ternary polymer monolayers. Top Right: AFM images of experimental systems, at different polymer fractions, compared with corresponding SCFT calculations. Bottom: phase diagram.

Top Left: Schematic of ternary polymer monolayers. Top Right: AFM images of experimental systems, at different polymer fractions, compared with corresponding SCFT calculations. Bottom: phase diagram.

Scientific Achievement

By creating a dense layer with three types of polymer molecules bound to a surface, we have demonstrated unique self-assembled patterns both theoretically and experimentally.

Significance and Impact

Programmable polymer domains can be used to template novel electronic or photonic material, for example to precisely place quantum dots for controlled energy transfer. Polymer domains on nanoparticles can control their assembly to create new responsive materials.

Research Details

  • Self-consistent field theory (SCFT) was used to calculate the self-assembled patterns and phase diagram for ternary mixtures of surface-bound polymers.
  • Ternary polymer monolayers were synthesized by polymerizing from a surface and shown to form laterally-phase separated domains in agreement with theory.

Pressure-Directed Assembly: new opportunity for nanoscience

(Fred Kavli Distinguished Lectureship in Nanoscience award presentation by Hongyou Fan at the 2015 MRS Spring Meeting)

Pressure modulates balanced interactions in self-assembled nanoparticle arrays (a), enables formation of 1-3 dimensional nanostructures (c). In-situ structural (d,e) and optical (f) interrogation show correlation and consistency with phase transition processes (e,g) and formation of the nanostructures (c).

Pressure modulates balanced interactions in self-assembled nanoparticle arrays (a), enables formation of 1-3 dimensional nanostructures (c). In-situ structural (d,e) and optical (f) interrogation show correlation and consistency with phase transition processes (e,g) and formation of the nanostructures (c).

Scientific Achievement

Pressure-Directed Assembly modulates nanoparticle interactions, enables ‘reversible and adjustable’ mesoscale assembly and exploration of collective physical characteristics for design and fabrication of novel nanoelectronic and photonic materials.

Significance and Impact

Exerting pressure-dependent control over nanoparticle arrays provides a unique and robust system to understand collective physics and to control optical property and energy transfer (Au, Ag, CdSe, FePt, etc.).

Research Details

–Below threshold pressure, the interparticle spacing and resulting surface plasmon coupling were systematically and reversibly tuned.

Above threshold pressure, nanoparticles consolidated into 1-3 dimensional novel nanoelectronic and photonic materials (e.g., nanorods, nanowires, nanosheets, etc.)