Ames Laboratory (AL)

Agency/Department

FLC Region

Security Lab

No

Address

311 TASF
2408 Pammel Dr.
Ames, IA 50011-1015
United States

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Laboratory Representative

Description

Ames Laboratory is a world-class institution dedicated to creating materials, inspiring minds to solve problems, and addressing global challenges. Located in Ames, Iowa on the campus of Iowa State University, we are global leaders in the discovery, synthesis, analysis, and application of new materials, novel chemistries, and transformational analytical tools. We conduct fundamental and applied research that helps the world to better understand the nature of the building blocks that make up our universe, and we translate that knowledge into new and unique materials, processes, and technologies that advance the nation’s economic competitiveness and enhance national security. Through multi-institutional collaborations, industry partnerships, and technology licensing, we have a proven track record of transitioning basic energy science through early-stage research to commercialization. Ames Laboratory invests in the future of science through education programs and mentorships which nurture undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral, and early career scientists. Our outreach programs are designed to promote early interest in STEM fields to K-12 students in the state of Iowa.

What We Do

Science of Synthesis: We are experts in the science of synthesis. The frontier of materials science is now predicting and achieving tailor-made material properties by precisely directing atoms into unique architectures. Our research accelerates the discovery of the next generation of energy materials.

Science of Quantum Materials: We stand at the forefront of quantum materials. Understanding quantum phenomena in materials holds the potential for the next technological revolution in information devices and computing. Our research leads the way in discovering novel quantum materials and exploring the means to manipulate and control their properties.

Science with Rare Earths: We continue a more than 70-year reputation of excellence in science with rare earths. Our research focuses on rare earths as critical components in a wide range of current and emerging technologies, and on developing new fabrication and recycling processes that address the supply and demand concerns of U.S. industry.

Science of Interfaces: Our research pursues fundamental knowledge to control and manipulate chemical processes at complex interfaces, including understanding how solvents affect chemical reactions and how molecules diffuse on surfaces at the nanoscale. We discover more efficient chemical reactions, and new ways to convert energy. Our expertise in computational theory and exascale computing will accelerate our discoveries into the future.

Unique Facilities

The Critical Materials Institute is an Energy Innovation Hub working to enhance and diversify production, develop substitutes, and recycle rare-earth metals and other materials critical to the nation’s energy security.

The Materials Preparation Center is a specialized metals synthesis and characterization facility internationally recognized for the Ames Process, a preparation technique for rare earth metals which was originally developed here under the Manhattan Project.

The Sensitive Instrument Facility houses state-of-theart electron microscopes in a vibration- and static-free environment, ensuring the highest possible resolution.

The Powder Synthesis and Development Facility provides expanded use and application of metallic powders for advanced manufacturing through design, testing, production, and analysis, at experimental and pilot scale.

Dynamic Nuclear Polarization NMR offers drastically higher sensitivity and faster data acquisition than conventional NMR technology—providing new insights into the physical, chemical, and electronic properties of materials.

Mission

Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory dedicated to creating materials, inspiring minds to solve problems, and addressing global challenges. We are leaders in the discovery, synthesis, analysis, and application of new materials, novel chemistries, and transformational analytical tools.

 

 

Technology Disciplines

Technologies
Displaying 1 - 10 of 32
 
A general efficient Gutzwiller solver for electronic structure simulation package
Acid-Free Dissolution and Separation of Rare-earth Metals
Bioadvantaged Nylon: Polycondensation of 3-Hexenedioic Acid with Hexamethylenediamine
Chemical Separation of Terbium Oxide
Development of Enhanced AlNiCo Magnets
Dispersion Management with Metamaterials
Double lens device for tunable harmonic generation of laser beams in KKBBF/RBBF crystals
Dual-Color Auto-Calibration Scanning-Angle Evanescent Field Microscope
Electrocatalytic Hydrogenation of Muconic Acid for the Production of Biorenewable Synthetic Polymer Precursors
Electrochemical membrane incinerator

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Facilities
Displaying 1 - 5 of 5
Critical Materials Institute, a DOE Energy Innovation Hub
Dynamic Nuclear Polarization NMR Facility
Materials Preparation Center
Powder-to-Parts (Additive Manufacuring)
Sensitive Instrument Facility
Equipment

No Equipment

Programs

No Programs

Funds

No Funds

Publications
Displaying 1 - 10 of 23

Sub-4 nm PtZn Intermetallic Nanoparticles for Enhanced Mass and Specific Activities in Catalytic Electrooxidation Reaction‎

Year Published: 
2017
Email: 
ipp@ameslab.gov
Lab Representatives

Spectroscopic evidence for a type II Weyl semimetallic state in MoTe2‎

Year Published: 
2016
Email: 
ipp@ameslab.gov
Lab Representatives

Sensitive Instrument Facility (SIF) Half Sheet

Year Published: 
2020
Email: 
ipp@ameslab.gov
Lab Representatives

Probing magnetism in 2D van der Waals crystalline insulators via electron tunneling‎

Year Published: 
2018
Email: 
ipp@ameslab.gov
Lab Representatives

Powder Synthesis and Development Facility Half Sheet

Year Published: 
2020
Email: 
ipp@ameslab.gov
Lab Representatives

Online System Identification Algorithm Half Sheet

Year Published: 
2020
Email: 
ipp@ameslab.gov
Lab Representatives

Observation of Fermi arcs in the type-II Weyl semimetal candidate WTe2

Year Published: 
2018
Email: 
ipp@ameslab.gov
Lab Representatives

Microstructural Control of Additively Manufactured Metallic Materials‎

Year Published: 
2016
Email: 
ipp@ameslab.gov
Lab Representatives

Materials Preparation Center Half Sheet

Year Published: 
2020
Email: 
ipp@ameslab.gov
Lab Representatives

Machine Learning Tools for Detecting Compressor Instabilities

Year Published: 
2020
Email: 
ipp@ameslab.gov
Lab Representatives

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Successes

The Critical Materials Institute (CMI) along with GE and Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge National Laboratories has discovered new phosphors for use in efficient lighting technologies, such as fluorescent long tube lighting and LEDs.  CMI has developed an accelerated materials discovery framework that predicts which new materials have the characteristics needed for lighting applications and scales up the production of these materials for manufacturing trials.

Phosphors for lighting applications often contain critical rare earth materials, such as europium and terbium, which are subject to supply risk.  CMI’s accelerated materials discovery process can identify new phosphors that meet or exceed existing materials in both manufacturing and performance in fluorescent and LED lamps.  Current LED technology, for example, is limited in its ability to provide “tunable” color for lamps because the phosphors used are broadband emitters, which results in blue color.  This “cool light” is less marketable in the North American market, where consumers prefer yellow-toned lighting.

CMI utilized both rapid computational and experimental discovery methods to identify materials with appropriate emissive qualities -- they emit light at the right wavelength and have narrow bandwidth emissions necessary for LED applications.  These methods allowed for quick screening of viable candidates, taking into account manufacturing requirements.  Within in a two-year span, this approach helped scientists rapidly identify replacements for red and green phosphors in fluorescent lamps, eliminating the use of europium and terbium.  The process was then extended to LED phosphors, and within the first year and a half of that effort, CMI scientists identified viable candidates for replacements for both red and green phosphors in LED lighting with narrow bandwidth. 

CMI brings scientists from across the DOE laboratory complex together to solve multidisciplinary problems.  These projects are significant in scope and often utilize a method that integrates computational and experimental methods to rapidly screen candidate substitute materials.  The framework and methodology used is broadly applicable beyond lighting technology and is being used for materials discovery and design in other areas, such as permanent magnet materials.  This capability can be extended to other critical materials whose supply risk can be addressed through the use of alternative materials.
 

Titanium powder created with Ames Laboratory-developed gas-atomization technology is being successfully marketed by Praxair Inc., which offers fine, spherical titanium powder for additive manufacturing and metal injection molding of aerospace, medical and industrial parts. It marks the first time large-scale amounts of titanium powder are available to industry with a potential for low-cost, high-volume manufacturing.

Titanium’s strength, light weight, biocompatibility and resistance to corrosion make it ideal for use in parts ranging from aircraft wing structures to replacement knee joints and medical instruments. Using ultra-fine, high-purity spherical titanium powder to 3-D print or mold these parts generates 10 times less metal waste than traditional casting of parts.

Two former Ames Laboratory employees Joel Rieken and Andy Heidloff, created a spinoff company, Iowa Powder Atomization Technologies (IPAT), to exclusively license Ames Laboratory’s titanium atomization patents. IPAT scientists worked to further optimize the titanium atomization process and along the way won several business and technology awards for their efforts, including the Department of Energy’s Next Top Energy Innovator competition in 2012. IPAT was acquired by Praxair, a Fortune 250 company and one of the world’s largest producers of gases and surface coatings in 2014, and Praxair began marketing titanium powder the following year.

In 2017, the high-efficiency “pour tube” nozzle invented by Iver Anderson, Reiken, Heidloff and their team to produce titanium power by a method 10 times more efficient than traditional powder-making methods, received a Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) Excellence in Technology Transfer Award. 

Gas atomization work at Ames Laboratory was supported by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and Office of Fossil Energy, and the specific work on titanium powder was supported by Iowa State University’s Research Foundation, the State of Iowa Regents Innovation Fund, and the U.S. Army.

A titanium bolt and the corresponding amount of titanium powder necessary to create it.

Extensive efforts to develop a replacement for lead-based solder resulted in the discovery of a novel tin-silver-copper alloy that not only removes toxic lead from our everyday environment but also serves as a direct swap for lead-based solders in the industrial setting, exhibiting a combination of low melting point, ease of application on typical metal joints, and reasonable cost.  The effort was led at Ames Laboratory by senior metallurgist Iver Anderson with assistance from co-inventor, Frederic Yost, from  Sandia National Laboratory.

Over 65 companies worldwide sublicensed the lead-free solder technology, which is used widely in modern electronic assembly as the go-to solder for attaching electronic chips and components to printed wiring boards in products such as cellular phones, computers and televisions.

Federal funding through the U.S. Department of Energy was provided for the basic research and technology development of lead-free solder.  Ames Laboratory’s contractor, Iowa State University, the Iowa State University Research Foundation, and Nihon Superior provided development funds.  Eventually two patents (5,527,628) and (6,231,691) were licensed to a small business, Johnson Manufacturing, Princeton, Iowa; Multicore Solders (now Henkel Corporation) of Richardson, Texas; and Nihon Superior Co. Ltd. Of Osaka, Japan.   Following a widespread movement in Japan (2000) to go lead-free in consumer electronics and legislative action by the European Union to eliminate most of the lead in consumer goods (2006), interest in lead-free solder skyrocketed.  The patents have now expired, but Ames Laboratory’s lead-free solder continues to be used in virtually all electronics worldwide, touching the lives of billions of people.

A winner of the Federal Laboratory Consortium’s “Excellence in Technology Transfer” award in 2009, ongoing lead-free solder product development continues in an effort to improve drop impact strength, thermal aging, and thermal fatigue resistance, with additional patents filed. 

Lead-free solder

One invention with two dramatic outcomes is the result of a new acid-free rare-earth magnet recycling process invented by scientists at the Critical Materials Institute (CMI) and Ames Laboratory.

During the recycling process, magnets are dissolved in water-based solutions, allowing scientists to recover more than 99 percent purity rare-earth elements.  In addition, cobalt is recovered from cobalt-containing magnet wastes.  The rare-earth materials recovered are used in making new magnets while the recovered cobalt shows promise for use in making battery cathodes.

The technology resulted from analyzing industrially generated wastes from three U.S. magnet manufacturing and processing companies.  A U.S. hard disk drive shredding company supplied shredded HDDs.  In addition, the Ames Laboratory Materials Preparation Center reduced magnets from the research into metal ingots, and collaboration is on-going with a commercial partner, Infinium Metals, to produce metal ingots at larger scale.

Ikenna Nlebidim (left) and Denis Prodius
discuss ​​​​​​recycling electronic waste.

Ames Laboratory and CMI scientists Ikenna Nlebedim and Denis Prodius and Anja-Verena Mudring, formerly of Ames Laboratory and currently of Stockholm University, developed the innovative recycling process.  Nlebedim, lead investigator, says, “The unique strength of this technology is that it eliminates operational hazards and negative environmental impacts associated with acid-based dissolution process without sacrificing purity, efficiency and potential economic impact.” 

Patents for the process have been filed, and the recycling process has earned a prestigious 2018 Notable Technology Development Award from the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC).

Ames Laboratory’s VE-Suite’s library of tools, an open-source software, provided the background and expertise needed for AgSolver, Inc., a startup company located in Ames, Iowa, to create and market LEAF (Landscape Environmental Assessment Framework) application tools. 

Doug McCorkle a co-founder of AgSolver, and his research team at Ames Laboratory focused on using diverse data streams within the engineering process to create virtualized systems that enable engineers to make well-informed decisions. At AgSolver, the open-source tools developed during that research are being deployed for training simulators, interactive design environments, and agronomic decision services products.

VE-Suite tools were developed by K. Mark Bryden, Doug McCorkle, Aaron Bryden and other team members at Ames Laboratory and Idaho National Laboratory.  Mark Bryden’s team won three R&D 100 awards for tools developed for VE-Suite.

AgSolver core environmental process engine determines a broad range of land performance characteristics at a high resolution that deliver market specific services to customers.  AgSolver’s agronomic decision service products improve land management decisions, and simplify mandatory compliance and reporting activities. Their technology uses readily available precision agriculture data including yield maps, soil sample data, and fertilizer application data, in combination with simulation tools to guide better management decisions. The technology uses these datasets with some simple inputs about the management practices for an operation to provide valuable insights at a high resolution 30 foot scale such as: profit projections for a field over 50 years of actual climate conditions, 10 – 30 year projections of key soil productivity metrics including organic matter and erosion scale, and nitrogen use efficiency. The coupled data management and simulation technology also supports high resolution conservation planning. By integrating this technology with a secure cloud computing framework AgSolver’s applications can provide these improved decisions within minutes.

AgSolver, Inc. was purchased by EFC Systems in 2015.

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Licenses

No Licenses