Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of EnergyOffice of Science national laboratory operated by Iowa State University. Ames Laboratory creates innovative materials, technologies and energy solutions. We use our expertise, unique capabilities and interdisciplinary collaborations to solve global problems.
Nature provides myriad examples of unique materials and structures developed for specialized applications or adaptations. An interdisciplinary group of researchers at the US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory is trying to unlock the secrets that organisms use to build such complex structures so that power can be used to create materials not found in nature and not capable of being synthesized by conventional means.
When it comes to creating new materials, single crystals play an important role in presenting a clearer picture of a material's intrinsic properties. A typical material will be comprised of lots of smaller crystals and the grain boundaries between these crystals can act as impediments, affecting properties such as electrical or thermal resistance.
The Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.