ARL’s Materials Research builds on fundamental pillars of materials science, physics, mathematics, computational chemistry, synthetic chemistry, biology, and engineering to conduct research in areas including Advanced Experimental Techniques; Modeling and Simulation; Bridging the Scales—a materials-by-design paradigm; Material Property Characterization to measure materials properties and performance to inform the research community across the scales; and Growth or Synthesis and Processing—a materials-on-demand paradigm.
Key enablers, which are expected to lead to disruptive discoveries yielding new Army capabilities, are emphasized. Discovery enablers include biological and bio-inspired materials, metamaterials, two-dimensional and nanoscale materials, and multifunctional and hierarchical materials. Recent scientific emphasis areas that promise disruptive capabilities include quantum science to alter time, space, and information processing; the coupling of energy fields to matter to create new materials and selectable system responses with vast performance improvements; and interfacial science research from which many key Army capabilities are enabled. Recent discoveries in these scientific areas are setting the course of future ARL research.
Materials research areas of specific emphasis include Structural Materials; Electronics; Photonics; Energy and Power; Biotechnology and Bio-Inspired; Lethality and Protection; and Materials Manufacturing Science.
Structural Materials is focused on novel and specialized materials to enhance the structural efficiency and systems performance of advanced platform structures while maintaining the same or greater levels of protection compared to today’s platforms.
Electronics is focused on specialized electronic materials and devices and circuits to achieve Army dominance over the entire electromagnetic spectrum, particularly in contested environments. The two primary thrusts of this area are Energy-Efficient Electronics and Hybrid Electronics. Energy-Efficient Electronics focuses on low-power-demand electronic components having increased performance capabilities, and Hybrid Electronics focuses on high-performance semiconductor-based conformable, flexible electronics for advanced sensors and processors.
Photonics is focused on materials and devices for photonic sensors and sources, scalable high-energy lasers, secure communications via quantum networking, and protection of sensors and human eyes against high-power and short-pulse laser threats.
Energy and Power is focused on materials and devices for more efficient power generation, energy storage, energy harvesting, fuel processing, micropower, and novel alternative energy solutions at lower cost.
Biotechnology and Bio-Inspired is focused on new biological materials derived through synthetic biology as well as classical approaches. Novel biological materials are combined with inorganic devices to sense chemical and biological agents, generate power from organic sources, and produce materials to create new protection designs inspired by nature.
High Strain Rate and Ballistic Materials is focused on novel and specialized materials to enhance the performance and efficiency of Army weapons and protection systems, including lightweight extreme performance materials, novel energetic materials, and energy-absorbing materials.
Materials Manufacturing Science is focused on discovery, innovation, and maturation of manufacturing innovations to facilitate agile, adaptive mobile processing and manufacturing capabilities to enable superior performance and implementation of cost reduction methodologies.