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Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

Materials Design Institute

MDI was established to recruit, retain, and revitalize LANL materials workers through education and research opportunities.


  • Leader
  • Dan Thoma
  • (505) 663-5627
  • Email
  • Deputy
  • Bob Field
  • (505) 663-5807
  • Email
  • LANL Administrator
  • Jean Knowlton
  • (505) 663-5233
  • Email

Collaborative interaction developing educational opportunities

The Materials Design Institute (MDI) was established to recruit, retain, and revitalize the LANL materials workforce through education programs.

As part of the education activities, appropriate mentored research activities are included for fulfillment of degree requirements and professional enhancement.

The materials community at LANL constitutes a very broad spectrum of cross-organizational interactions, and therefore, an inclusive multidisciplinary approach is mandated to capture emerging competencies and capabilities essential for the future health of the organization. To achieve this ambitious goal, a collaborative interaction has been established with the College of Engineering at the University of California, Davis, to develop a diverse, cross-discipline degree emphasis that promotes teaming through dual-use technology advancement.

The core competencies stressed in the MDI focus upon synthesis/processing, alloy design, and the resultant properties as linked by the primary characterization feature, microstructural evolution. These competencies are linked through first-principal models and engineering simulations to develop integrated teaming approaches that can address performance objectives relevant to a diverse set of programmatic goals.

Two major thrusts of the MDI are the Joint Educational Program, in which a specialized curriculum is being developed with courses to be taught by UC Davis faculty and LANL staff, and the Collaborative Research Programs.

Graduate students are currently involved in joint research projects with UC Davis faculty and LANL technical staff. These projects are funded by the institute and provide opportunities to perform cutting-edge research that is relevant to the LANL mission.

In addition to research performed at UC Davis, the students have the opportunity to spend summers at LANL, working directly with LANL staff.

Core competencies

  • synthesis/processing
  • alloy design
  • resultant properties as linked by primary characterization feature
  • microstructural evolution

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