The Physical, Chemical, and Nano Sciences Center provides a foundation and science base in support of Sandia's mission. The content and focus of our work supports Sandia's role as a "Science-Based Engineering" Laboratory, and the Defense Program's objectives in Science-Based Stockpile Stewardship.
Support for our work is derived from several sources, representing important constituencies: Defense Programs, Laboratory-Directed Research and Development, Basic Energy Sciences, and Partnerships with Industry and other Government Agencies. With synergistic support from these multiple customers, we focus on the following set of strategic themes:
The Center has a continuing NNSA Science and Technology Thrust that has a rich history of contributing in important ways to engineering mission needs of the non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons (NWs). These needs have become quite complex over the last decade. With the end of the Cold War, the US stopped designing and manufacturing new nuclear weapons, and instead took the position that the existing stockpile of, albeit old, weapons could be maintained, upgraded and even have their useful life extended. These life extension requirements coupled with the end of underground testing in the early 90s, has made the physical and chemical understanding of component operation, aging, failure mechanisms, and response to radiation exposure more important now than at any period during the Atomic Age. An important goal of this NNSA S&T thrust, therefore, is to provide this fundamental understanding, with high confidence and in time to impact stockpile refurbishment and upgrade schedules. An equally important goal is that we innovate and stay abreast of scientific discoveries that can have potential for improving the NW stockpile.
The Center's Collective Hierarchical Systems Thrust is the study and simulation of dynamic self-assembly processes and cooperative behaviors in living systems. These are energy-driven, multi-scale (hierarchical) processes that maintain themselves in far-from-equilibrium states. By mimicking these processes, we seek to extend life-like dynamic self-assembly, self-repair and self-modification capabilities to non-living dynamic systems, e.g. self-assembling software.
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The Center's vision for compound semiconductors is to develop the science of compound semiconductors that will enable us to invent integrated nano-technologies for the microsystems of the future. We will achieve this by advancing the frontiers of semiconductor research in areas such as quantum phenomena, defect physics, materials and device modeling, heteroepitaxy, and by discovering new materials and inventing new device structures with novel properties.
Explore phenomena that are new and unique at the nanometer length scale, and develop bridges from the nanometer length scale to longer scales, including work in:
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Optical sciences encompass the generation, conversion, detection, manipulation, and application of light. We emphasize innovative work in laser development, nonlinear optics, spectroscopy, remote sensing, and photon material interactions.
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