Extramural Basic Research

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory's Army Research Office (ARO) mission is to serve as the Army's premier extramural basic research agency in the engineering, physical, information and life sciences; developing and exploiting innovative advances to insure the nation's technological superiority.

For questions concerning research in areas not specifically listed below, please use the contact information on the Army Research Office organizational page.

Physical Sciences Basic Research Portfolio

  • Physics: The Physics portfolio includes research efforts to discover and understand exotic quantum and extreme optical physics. The Division promotes basic research studies in the areas of condensed matter physics, atomic and molecular physics, optics and fields, and quantum information science. These studies represent areas where the scientific community's knowledge of physics must be expanded to enable an understanding of the governing phenomena. Research advances in physics can be readily visualized to impact sensor capabilities for increased battlespace awareness and Soldier protection, enhanced navigation, ultra-lightweight optical elements and low-power electronics for decreased Soldier load, and advanced computational capabilities for resource optimization and maximal logistical support.
  • Chemical Sciences: The Chemical Sciences portfolio includes research efforts to advance the Army and nation's knowledge and understanding of the fundamental properties, principles, and processes governing molecules, and their interactions in materials or chemical systems. The Division promotes basic research studies to uncover the relationships between macromolecular architecture and material properties, to understand the fundamental processes governing electrochemical reactions, to develop methods for accurately predicting the pathways, intermediates, and energy transfer of specific reactions, and to discover and characterize the many chemical processes that occur at surfaces. These efforts will likely reveal new methods for synthesizing and analyzing molecules and materials that will open the door to future studies that are not feasible with current methods, which collectively will help to keep the U.S. at the forefront of chemical sciences research.
  • Life Sciences: The Life Sciences portfolio includes research efforts in the life sciences that have the potential to transform Army capabilities and maintain U.S. technological superiority. This includes research for better Soldier physical and cognitive performance, improved Soldier protection, new materiel and capabilities, and better Army logistics. Areas supported include molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, microbiology, microphysiology, neurobiology, genomics, proteomics, systems biology, bioengineering, and social science. Basic research is supported that will enable better Soldier performance, improved protection and survivability, new kinds of sensors, bioelectronics, biomimetic and biological materials, new sources of power and energy, new sources of intelligence, communication, bioproduction, and better bioremediation capabilities.

Engineering Sciences Basic Research Portfolio

  • Mechanical Sciences Mechanical Sciences portfolio includes research supported in the Mechanical Sciences Division, which is concerned with a broad spectrum of fundamental investigations in the disciplines of fluid dynamics, solid mechanics, structures and dynamics, and propulsion and energetics. Although many creative and imaginative studies concentrate on a particular subdiscipline, there are new contributions arising from interdisciplinary approaches such as the coupling between aerodynamics and structures; combustion and fluid dynamics; or solid mechanics and structures as seen in the structural reliability areas. Active controls and computational multiscale mechanics are two examples of the common themes that run through these four subdisciplines. Research in these areas is addressed within the context of the application rather than as a separate subject of study.
  • Electronics: Electronics portfolio supports scientific and engineering research endeavors that could potentially define new electronic-photonic-magnetic capabilities as well as enhance future Soldier electronic performance. Recently supported research under electronics can be divided into five application areas: Multimodal Sensing, Ubiquitous Communications, Intelligent Information Technology, Power Electronics, and Electromagnetic Warfare. The Electronics research subareas are electronic sensing; solid state devices; optoelectronics; electromagnetic, microwaves, and power; and terahertz science and technology.
  • Environmental Sciences: Environmental Sciences portfolio principally investigates fundamental phenomenology of the atmospheric lower boundary layer and the terrestrial surface and near-surface environments to ensure the ability of the Army to function as the world's premier terrestrial element of military power. In addition, Environmental Sciences examines fundamental basic research related to environmental quality, particularly the remediation, restoration, and sustainability of military lands.
  • Material Sciences: Materials Science portfolio supports the overall goal of the Materials Science Division, which is to elucidate the fundamental relationships that link the composition, microstructure, defect structures, processing, and properties of materials in order to realize unprecedented materials properties. This knowledge enables the research program to continue to generate the new discoveries that will permit the Army to maintain the overall technological edge required for the future.

Information Sciences Basic Research Portfolio

  • Computing Sciences: Computing and Informational Science portfolio supports research that provides increased performance and assured capability for processing signals and data, extracting critical information, and deriving actionable intelligence to enhance the warfighters' situational awareness, decision making, command and control, and weapons systems performance. The Computing Sciences thrust areas include Computational Architectures and Visualization, Information Assurance, Information Processing and Fusion, and Social Informatics. The areas of focus for this research identify and address the Army's critical basic research problems in Computing Sciences where progress has been inhibited by a lack of novel concepts or fundamental knowledge.
  • Mathematical Sciences: Mathematics portfolio responds to increasing demands on the mathematical sciences by attempting to systematically advance fundamental knowledge and underlying models that focus on the needs of the Army. In particular, mathematical sciences are integral parts of research in network science, decision science, intelligent systems, and computational science. Mathematical Sciences also plays an important role in solving Army issues related to materials, information, robotics, networks, C4ISR, testing, evaluation, decision-making, acquisition, training, and logistics. The areas of focus for this research include Probability and Statistics, Modeling of Complex Systems, Numerical Analysis, and Biomathematics.
  • Network Sciences: Network Sciences research makes use of the commonality in the structure of networks around us - be it communication among a school of fish, pack of wolves, a group of jihadis, or an adhoc wireless network. The goal of Network Sciences is to make use of this commonality, in a synergistic way, to address issues of importance to the Army. Networks of sensors, communication and computation nodes, and robots are pervasive throughout the Army and especially in Command, Control, Communications, Computing, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems. The areas of focus for this research include Communications and Sensor Networks, Intelligent Networks, Multi-Agent Network Control, and Decision and Neuro Sciences.

Last Update / Reviewed: July 31, 2012