Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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

Materials and Physical Data

Applied theoretical and computational research on the physics and mechanics of materials

  • XCP-5 Summer Student April Howard

    Howard University intern April Howard presents research

  • Modeling electron density in fluid phase Al

    Modeling electron density in fluid phase Al

  • Interpreting opacity experiments on Sandia Z machine

    Interpreting opacity experiments on the Sandia Z machine

  • XCP-5 group members

    XCP-5 group members

  • Graduate intern Sarah Burnett presents at APS Shock Conference

    Graduate intern Sarah Burnett presents at the APS Shock Conference

Contact Us  

  • Group Administrator
  • Maureen Johnson
  • Email

Providing nuclear, atomic, and material models for national security applications

The Materials and Physical Data Group (XCP-5) develops, implements, and validates material models (for strength, damage, spall, and phase-transition kinetics) and physical datasets (for opacities, equations of state, and nuclear cross sections) for use in large-scale multiphysics simulation codes, with an emphasis on national-security applications. 


Research activities

Our scientists and engineers conduct applied and fundamental theoretical research in statistical mechanics and thermodynamics, high explosives, materials strength, damage, spall, ejecta, friction, phase transition kinetics, opacities, warm plasmas, turbulence, and nuclear cross sections. Our techniques range from atomistic modeling to continuum mechanics to large-scale massively-parallel multi physics simulation.

We collaborate in the design and analysis of small-scale and integral validation experiments for material models and physical data and play a major role in uncertainty quantification for simulations.

We also create and maintain tools that provide the interfaces between the large-scale simulation codes and the physical property databases. We are the link between theoretical and experimental researchers, on one hand, and the large-scale numerical-simulation code developers and device modelers, on the other.

We pursue this mission in tandem with our colleagues in the Theoretical, X-Theoretical Design, and Computer, Computational, and Statistical Sciences divisions; and we collaborate with other researchers across the Laboratory, throughout the Department of Energy complex, and across the academic community.

Areas of expertise

Nuclear-reaction data

  • Assessment of cross-section evaluations
  • Uncertainty quantification
  • Verification and validation
  • Critical benchmarking
  • Processing into libraries for transport applications (e.g. For MCNP)
  • Creation of nuclear data processing capabilities (e.g., NJOY21)

Mechanics of Materials

  • Constitutive behavior at high strains and high strain rates
  • Damage and spall models under highly dynamic conditions
  • Solid-solid phase transition kinetics

Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics

  • Statistical physics of warm dense matter
  • Electronic structure and quantum molecular dynamics
  • Development of practical software for predicting and correlating thermodynamic properties of materials
  • Creation of tabular equations of state (e.g., SESAME equations of state) over broad ranges of conditions

Atomic Physics and Opacities

  • Fundamental and computational atomic physics
  • Modeling/predicting materials’ opacities.
  • Verification and validation of opacity data libraries
  • Spectral interpretation and post processing

Multi physics Simulations

  • Verification and validation of material and physics models in large-scale multi physics codes
  • Design and interpretation of small-scale and integrated experiments
  • Support for NNSA customers using our physical and material datasets in computational-physics applications
  • Extending our fundamental understanding of atomic, nuclear, and materials physics
  • Enhancing the predictive capability of multi physics simulations
  • Designing and interpreting highly dynamic multi physics experiments
  • Modeling nuclear weapon performance
  • Enhancing global security and nuclear nonproliferation studies 
  • Simulating inertial confinement fusion
  • Investigating astrophysical phenomena
Recent publications

September 2016: Observation of interspecies ion separation in inertial-confinement fusion implosions.
S. C. Hsu, T. R. Joshi, P. Hakel, E. L. Vold, M. J. Schmitt, N. M. Hoffman, R. M. Rauenzahn, G. Kagan, X.-Z. Tang, R. C. Mancini, Y. Kim, and H. W. Herrmann,  Europhysics Letters 115, 65001.

XCP-5 Author Recognized by the Editors of Phys. Rev. D: Congratulations to XCP-5 postdoc Daniel Blaschke and T-2 co-author Vincenzo Cirigliano on their recent publication Neutrino quantum kinetic equations: The collision term, which has been designated a "PRD Editors' Suggestion — a small fraction of papers which we judge to be particularly important, interesting, and well written.” (9/1/2016)

XCP-5 Authors Recognized by Editors of J. Phys. B: Congratulations to the ASC PEM Atomic Physics project (including XCP-5 group members Chris Fontes, Honglin Zhang, and Peter Hakel) on their recent publication The Los Alamos Suite of Relativistic Atomic Physics Codes, which the editors of the Journal of Physics B selected as one of the "Highlights of 2015." (3/25/2016)

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