Argonne's vision is to lead the world in discovery science and engineering that provides technical solutions to the grand challenges of our time: sustainable energy, a clean environment, economic competitiveness, and a secure nation. Argonne’s research is driven by the DOE-defined core capabilities in fundamental and applied science and engineering in which Argonne is a national leader: large-scale national user facilities and advanced instrumentation; applied mathematics; advanced computer science, visualization and data; chemical and molecular science; chemical engineering; condensed matter physics and materials science; applied materials science and engineering; particle physics; nuclear physics; accelerator science and technology; applied nuclear science and technology; and systems engineering and integration. These capabilities allow our researchers to stretch scientific boundaries, expand the frontiers of human knowledge, and create new technologies that benefit all mankind.
Large-Scale User Facilities/Advanced Instrumentation
Argonne leads in the conception, design, construction, and operation of world-class scientific user facilities. Six internationally renowned facilities are home to groundbreaking discoveries that would otherwise not be possible. They include the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, Center for Nanoscale Materials, Electron Microscopy Center, Argonne Tandem-Linac Accelerator System, and Transportation Technology R&D Center. Each year, more than 5,000 researchers from all corners of the globe use these facilities to probe the most fundamental materials properties and chemical processes, advance the understanding of nuclear matter, and deliver forefront computational and networking capabilities.
Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science
Argonne’s core capabilities in the design, synthesis, fabrication, and characterization of advanced materials result in breakthrough technology advances in energy production, distribution, storage, and efficiency. Our world-renowned scientists create, understand and control complex materials with tailored functionality for uses in energy and environmental sustainability. This capability involves cross- functional teams conducting basic and applied research that leverage Argonne’s state-of-the-art user facilities.
Chemical and Molecular Science
Argonne focuses on transforming energy production and use through the synthesis, characterization, and control of molecules and chemical processes. Argonne’s research in atomic and molecular sciences aims to understand the electronic response to ultra-intense X-ray radiation from the world’s first X-ray free electron laser, the Linac Coherent Light Source at SLAC, and on developing high-precision, high-repetition-rate methodologies for ultrafast X-ray probes of molecular motion at the Advanced Photon Source.
Argonne has earned international renown for its cutting-edge developments in applied mathematics research. Argonne’s research focuses on optimization, partial differential equations and algebraic solvers, and automatic differentiation. Our pioneering work in these areas enables scientists to accurately describe and understand the behavior of complex energy and environmental systems. Argonne’s research also advances key areas of computational science and discovery through partnerships with applied programs and interagency collaborations.
Advanced Computer Science, Visualization, and Data
Argonne’s global leadership in advanced computer science, visualization, and data empowers us to find new solutions to challenges in extreme-scale computing; grid and cloud computing; and large-scale data storage, communication, analysis, and visualization. Top scientists from universities, national laboratories, and industry use Argonne-developed software on the vast majority of scientific applications at the largest supercomputers in the world. The development of networking and collaboration tools is also enabling scientists worldwide to work together using large-scale observation, experiment, and computation facilities.
Through its research in nuclear physics, Argonne scientists strive to understand how protons and neutrons form atomic nuclei and how nuclei have emerged since the origin of the cosmos. They also study the fundamental properties of the proton and the neutron and work to develop a better understanding of the neutrino. Argonne staff and visiting scientists use ATLAS’s stable ion and rare isotope beams to study nuclear structures, investigate reactions far from stability as the basis of astrophysical processes generating the chemical elements, and test nature’s fundamental symmetries.
Argonne’s particle physics core capability supports the primary science mission of the DOE/SC-HEP office with a proven track record of making unique contributions derived from Argonne’s multidisciplinary nature. The research focuses on understanding the properties and interactions of the fundamental particles making up the universe, the symmetries underlying the fundamental forces of nature, and the constituents of matter. Several groundbreaking research initiatives are under way, including the development of fundamentally new technologies that will provide breakthrough platforms for future instrumentation and accelerators.
Accelerator Science and Technology
Argonne’s expansive accelerator science and technology (S&T) research is critical to the continuous improvement of the nation’s accelerator-driven scientific user facilities, and contributes to accelerator technology used in societal applications. Argonne offers accelerator design and development expertise that is of strategic importance to the accelerator S&T community in the United States and abroad. As related to accelerator-based X-rays, Argonne has significant expertise in modeling, design, and operation of both electron accelerators and free electron lasers; undulator design, fabrication, and measurement; control systems; and vacuum chamber design and construction.
Applied Materials Science and Engineering
Argonne’s expertise in the creation and analysis of novel materials provides the foundation for the next generation of energy production, storage, and distribution technologies. Argonne draws on expertise from multiple divisions, including Materials Sciences, Chemical Sciences and Engineering, and Nanoscience and Technology. Argonne fosters research and development in basic materials science and collaborates with academia and industry to produce new technologies in electrical energy storage, solar energy, catalysis, and biofuels.
Chemical engineering research at Argonne is at the forefront of solving the nation’s energy and security challenges, by both receiving and informing our basic energy research and demonstrating transformational technologies for electrochemical energy storage, nuclear energy, nonproliferation, and radiological forensics. Argonne’s advanced battery program has been a hub of activity supporting an integrated innovation pipeline since the late 1960s and is responsible for a large portfolio of intellectual property. Combined with Argonne’s Applied Materials Science and Engineering capabilities, the coupling of basic materials R&D with the ability to scale materials to a pre-pilot level, incorporate the materials in commercial-grade cells, run them through a battery of tests, and then analyze the materials down to the molecular scale is unique in the U.S. Department of Energy complex.
Applied Nuclear Science and Technology
With extensive experience in nuclear reactor and fuel cycle R&D, Argonne acts as a global technical leader in advancing nuclear energy as an affordable, safe, and environmentally clean energy source. Argonne’s unsurpassed nuclear science and technology expertise also positions it to support key national objectives related to managing used nuclear fuel; securing the disposition of fissile materials and nuclear waste; and controlling safety, proliferation, and nuclear materials security risks as the use of nuclear energy expands around the world.
Systems Engineering and Integration
Moving a robust, mission-driven research program toward commercial deployment requires a strong applied R&D program that focuses on the demonstration and deployment of critical energy technologies. Argonne’s capstone R&D programs are supported by crosscutting systems engineering and integration research that supports a world-class, fully integrated systems approach to technology development. Multidisciplinary teams conduct research from basic science through engineering to system deployment. In addition, Argonne maintains a unique set of facilities, including the Advanced Photon Source, used to study combustion in automotive engines; high-performance computers, used to model engine function and performance; and the Center for Transportation Research, which conducts experimental research on vehicle systems.