portrait photo

Bobby G Sumpter

Theory and Computation Section Head, Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences

Brief Research Synopsis: My research is directed primarily toward developing and applying modern computational and mathematical capabilities for the understanding and prediction of chemical and physical processes ranging from the molecular to the nanoscale to full-size engineering applications, using a multidisciplinary approach that integrates chemistry, physics, and materials science. Work is closely coupled with the experiments at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS) and the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), with a scientific focus on using theory and multiscale simulations and modeling for providing interpretive and predictive frameworks for design and understanding of novel nanoscale materials with specific and/or emergent properties. The underlying goal is to understand, predict, design, control, and/or exploit complex behavior that emerges at the nanoscale to enable capabilities that can lead to new innovations and improved materials for energy science and technology. Overall, this vision is aggressively pursued through a multi-pronged and tight integration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory distinctive capabilities in precision experimental synthesis and state-of-the-art characterization along side leadership class computing.

  • 2020-Present:  Theory and Computation Section Head
  • 2017-2022: Chair ORNL Corporate Fellows Council
  • 2015-2020: Interim Group Leader, Macromolecular Nanomaterials, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • 2015–2017: Vice Chair Corporate Fellows Council, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • 2014–2020: Deputy Director, Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
  • 2013–Present: Joint Faculty Professor, Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education, University of Tennessee
  • 2013–Present: ORNL Corporate Fellow
  • 2009–2020: Group Leader, Computational Chemical and Materials Sciences and Director of the Nanomaterials Theory Institute, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, (ORNL), Oak Ridge, Tennessee
  • 2009–2013: Distinguished Research Staff, ORNL, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
  • 2006–2009: Senior Research Staff, Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, ORNL, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
  • 2003–2009:: Senior Research Staff, Computer Science & Mathematics Division, ORNL, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
  • 1992–2002: Research staff scientist, ORNL, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
  • 1988–1992: Research Associate, UT/ORNL, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
  • 1987–1988: Postdoctoral Research, Cornell University

Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS)

Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Fellow of the Institute of Physics (IOP)

Fellow of the International Association of Advanced Materials (IAAM)


UT-Battelle outstanding Mentor of Early Career Researchers award 2017

2014 CNMS Distinguished scientific paper

2013 UT-Battelle Corporate Fellow2012 Significant Event Award (CeLEST)

2012 Most distinguished scientific paper award (CSMD)

2012 Division Director Award (CNMS)

2009 Division Director Award (CNMS)

1999 Lockheed Martin Energy Research significant event award

1996 ORNL-CASD Technical Achievement award

  • 1987 Ph.D. Physical Chemistry, Oklahoma State University
  • 1983 B.S. Chemistry (ACS Certified), Southwestern Oklahoma State University

US Patent 6,461,546, “Apparatus for and method of producing monodisperse submicron polymer powders from solution,” Oct. (2002).

US Patent 9,610,608 “Self-Assembly Patterning of Organic Molecules on a Surface”, April 4, 2017. 

US Patent 10,777,381 “Beam Controlled Nano-robotic Device”, October, 2020.

US Patent 11,518,674 "Atomic-scale e-beam sculptor", December, 2022.