About Materials Science

Sandia excels in innovative fundamental materials science research – developing and integrating the theoretical insights, computational simulation tools and deliberate experiments that provide foundational, predictive understanding of the performance of Sandia’s current and future mission-critical materials in order to provide the solid technical basis for Sandia’s engineering decisions and enabling future mission work.

Why Sandia?

Sandia’s missions have the common challenges of low volume, high reliability, high consequence of failure, and unique environments that require fundamental materials understanding to have confidence our products will perform in demanding missions over time.  We must understand the fundamentals of the materials involved – over time and in demanding environments.

Questions driven by mission include:

  • why materials have different, variable properties and does this matter;
  • how materials interact in a systems context;
  • why they will change with use; and how they change in (often severe) operational environments.

By integrating a core scientific understanding into the design of high-consequence hardware, we enable confidence that Sandia’s products will perform as required for demanding missions. From state-of-the-art prototypes to long-life systems, the Materials Science Research Foundation provides the technical basis for engineering decisions and mission success.

Our unique value

  • Deep foundational knowledge in electronic and optical materials, thin films and coatings, nanostructured materials, ceramics synthesis and processing, and catalysis and reaction processes
  • Proven expertise in developing and applying innovative characterization and diagnostic techniques, as well as advanced computational methods
  • Collaboration across Sandia’s science and engineering communities provides entrée into numerous corporate strengths such as high-performance computing, microsystems, chemical imaging, and modeling and simulation
  • World-class equipment and facilities

Our Values

We instantiate Sandia’s values through our work as a Materials Sciences community: we deliver with excellence, we respect each other, we act with integrity, and we team for great results.


We balance world leadership in selected areas of materials science with maintaining the broad expertise needed to deliver on our mission commitments.


We will work challenges as a team, and seek to develop our staff and grow our next generation of leaders.


Customers and colleagues who approach us individually can trust that we will respond to their needs using the most appropriate resources to ensure that the best ideas and solutions are brought to bear.


We strive to become entangled with our customers, so that we can deeply understand their needs and together achieve their goals. We also operate as a community – tightly interwoven so as to efficiently, effectively, and innovatively bring critical materials expertise to the Labs and the Nation.