Los Alamos National Laboratory

Center for
Materials at Irradiation and Mechanical Extremes
A BES Energy Frontier Research Center


The Center for Materials at Irradiation and Mechanical Extremes (CMIME) is a Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) designed to understand, at the atomic scale, the behavior of materials subject to extreme radiation doses and mechanical stress in order to synthesize new materials that can tolerate such conditions.

It is a collaborative effort led by Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) that includes the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UI), and Carnegie-Mellon University (CMU).

Developing new materials at irradiation and mechanical extremes
The challenge to develop materials with radically extended performance limits at irradiation and mechanical extremes requires designing and perfecting atom- and energy-efficient synthesis of revolutionary new materials that maintain their desired properties while being driven far from equilibrium.

This Center will develop a fundamental understanding of how atomic structure and energetics of interfaces contribute to defect and damage evolution in materials and use this information to design nanostructured materials with tailored response at irradiation and mechanical extremes. Such ultra-high strength, damage tolerant nanocomposites will have potential applications as structural materials, fuel cladding, and waste forms in the next generation of nuclear power reactors and structural materials in transportation, energy, and defense.

Center's foundation: LANL research on metallic nanocomposites
The scientific foundation of this Center comes from LANL work on metallic nanocomposites showing that interfaces serve to block slip as well as sinks for point defects. The nanocomposites materials can exhibit over an order of magnitude improvement in strength and resistance to damage from particle irradiation and shock deformation.

The Center is funded at a level of $19 million total for five years.

Scientific Hypotheses

In the pursuit of the grand challenge and science issues outlined on this Web site, we have developed scientific hypotheses associated with the following three scientific issues:

  • Absorption and recombination of point and line defects at interfaces
  • Morphological and chemical stability of interfaces
  • Interface-driven mechanical response

Read the scientific hypotheses


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