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Carlos Gutierrez
Carlos Gutierrez


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Surface Imaging Laboratory

Technology - Metals for tomorrow

Tina Nenoff



Surface and Interface Sciences

The Surface and Interface Sciences Department is engaged in a diverse portfolio of leading-edge research projects related to the understanding and manipulation of materials phenomena at surfaces, interfaces, and in the nanoscale regime. We typically coordinate experimental and theoretical/modeling expertise in our investigations, with the goal of providing key scientific expertise and leadership for supporting a vital sector of Sandia National Laboratories' (SNL) mission-related science-based engineering innovation needs (i.e., related to Energy, Water, National Security etc). We have a successful track-record for partnering within SNL and with external collaborators (including industry, defense, intelligence, and academic partners/sponsors) in a wide range of joint R&D activities spanning from fundamental research projects to applied CRADA projects. Consequently, we enthusiastically welcome logical “win-win” research collaborations with government, industrial and university groups.

Our Department is also interested in research collaborations that engage potential Truman Fellow Postdoctoral Fellows in projects that flexibly align with our own diverse research interests and capabilities. The Truman Fellowship program attracts the best nationally recognized new Ph.D. scientists and engineers, and provides the opportunity for recipients to pursue independent leading-edge research in synergy with internationally recognized Sandia staff research staff mentors relevant for Sandia’s broad National Security Mission. Truman Fellow candidates will find a diverse array of materials science and nanoscience opportunities and lab resources in the subsequent Department research activities description attractive for engaging in a successful and exciting research project. To investigate possible Truman Fellowship research linkages with Department research personnel relevant for preparing a competitive proposal satisfying the Truman Fellow Guidelines, please contact the Department Manager, Carlos Gutierrez. Our Department is also interested in research collaborations that are relevant for furthering Sandia’s NINE (National Institute for Nano-Engineering) initiatives.

Our current research portfolio is designed to advance fundamental scientific understanding relevant for impacting nanoscience-based innovation in the following thematic research areas:


Members of the Department also collaboratively assist nanoscience-related research activity at the nearby DOE Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT).

Collectively, our research staff has expertise for conducting a broad array of coordinated and complementary experimental and theoretical fundamental investigations directed towards the understanding and manipulation of nanoscale mechanisms that control the surface and interface-sensitive behavior of a wide spectrum of advanced materials systems. Predictive models for understanding the growth, fabrication, stability, and unique properties of advanced or critical materials systems are typically developed from this coordinated activity.  Various nanostructured systems composed of inorganic (i.e., SiGe, ZnO, graphene etc.) and/or organic (i.e., self-assembled monolayers, organic semiconductors, etc.) components are of current interest.

The Department's fundamental materials physics and chemistry modeling efforts utilize techniques such as density functional theory and molecular-dynamics (including ab initio MD) simulation approaches utilizing SNL's premier computational resources, typically providing complementary insight to experimental efforts. Experimental materials fabrication/synthesis approaches include wet chemical synthesis, ultra-high vacuum deposition approaches, and nanolithography-based processing strategies.  These fabrication/synthesis techniques are used in conjunction with a wide array of complementary advanced characterization and analysis techniques. These techniques include low energy electron microscopy (LEEM), scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), Sandia-developed interfacial force microscopy (IFM), and atomic force microscopy (AFM).  Additionally, we have nanoparticle materials and porous molecular sieve materials research activities that implements analysis techniques including powder and single crystal X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy (SEM, TEM), MAS NMR, GC/MS, thermal (TGA/DTA) and elemental analyses, and permeation studies.

Projects are typically supported by the DOE (including NNSA and Office of Science/Basic Energy Sciences), and various SNL/industrial/university partnerships. Department success is dependent on the ability to develop techniques which provide atomic-scale information that is crucial to SNL's multiple mission needs and the Sandia National Laboratories Physical, Chemical and Nano Sciences Center.


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