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Foundational Materials Science


Solve America’s energy challenges with a better understanding of the structure and function of novel materials and emergent phenomena.


Address key scientific questions, over multiple length and time scales, related to the ORNL materials portfolio. Lead the laboratory’s efforts in materials discovery and the study of emergent phenomena.

R&D Scope

The Foundational Materials Science Section focuses on understanding, controlling, and characterizing heterogeneities across multiple length scales and their impact on structure and properties. The Foundational Materials Science Section research portfolio emphasizes the synthesis of materials and the study of disorder and interfaces for a better understanding of condensed matter physics. As the saying goes, “Unique and interesting things happen at the boundaries!” and we want to study them. 

This section encompasses the following research groups:

Correlated Electron Materials Group — Performs research to understand inorganic crystalline materials development and condensed matter physics, by discovering and synthesizing single crystals.

Neutron and X-ray Scattering Group — Develops and applies unique neutron and X-ray measurements to characterize phase stability, residual stress, texture, of complex materials.

Quantum Heterostructures Group — Engineer and probe new functional oxides, topological quantum materials, epitaxial thin films, and heterostructures by pulsed-laser deposition and molecular beam epitaxy.

Our work is highly collaborative, and we benefit strongly from interactions with others across ORNL, including our local user facilities, SNS, HFIR, and CNMS. 


Distinguished R&D Staff and Section Head of Foundational Materials Science
Jason Gardner