Launch of the High-Throughput Experimental Materials Virtual Laboratory
NIST and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have launched the High-Throughput Experimental Materials Virtual Laboratory (HTE-MVL), with the goal of generating the huge volumes of data needed to validate existing materials models and develop new, more sophisticated ones. The HTE-MVL will consist of a national network of high-throughput synthesis and characterization tools integrated into the Materials Genome Initiative materials data infrastructure. The facility will foster coordination and data integration across high-throughput experimental programs. The result will be a widely accessible, growing resource open to the entire materials research community.
The primary goal of the MGI is the discovery, optimization, and commercial deployment of novel materials twice as fast as today’s practice, and at reduced cost. Since its inception in 2011, the MGI has resulted in significant progress in computational simulation and modeling to enable predictions of materials properties. More recently, an experimental component, based on high-throughput experimental materials science, has been added. However, there remain serious challenges that the materials community must overcome to enable widespread deployment of an MGI-type approach to novel materials development. For example, data, both experimental and simulated, must be made discoverable, accessible, and interoperable. Further, even one “brick and mortar” high-throughput experimental facility would be very costly. The HTE-MVL was established in response to both challenges.
To promote the success of this project NIST and NREL are working on several fronts:
- Development of a conceptual model for integration of components within the materials data infrastructure consisting of: registries, repositories, data transfer services, laboratory information management systems, instruments, computing, etc.
- Development of a specialized registry and repository to enable discovery and access of items within the virtual laboratory, such as sample libraries, instruments, data, etc.
- Development of community interchange standards for data and metadata
- Execution of a round-robin experiment where transparent conducting oxide libraries are synthesized and characterized by both institutions and data is managed by the new materials data infrastructure.
- Outreach to critical stakeholders, such as funding agencies, potential new member institutes, potential new users, potential new contributors, and potential new data consumers.
Green, M. L., Choi, C. L., Hattrick-Simpers, J. R., Joshi, A. M., Takeuchi, I., Barron, S. C., Campo, E., Chiang, T., Empedocles, S., Gregoire, J. M., Kusne, A. G., Martin, J., Mehta, A., Persson, K., Trautt, Z., Van Duren, J., and Zakutayev, A., “Fulfilling the promise of the materials genome initiative with high-throughput experimental methodologies,” Applied Physics Reviews 4, 2017, http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4977487
Federal Material Science Leaders Gather at NIST
“How can federal scientists across agencies most effectively address pressing national needs?” Over 100 federal scientists convened at the Federal Interagency Materials Representatives meeting, held at the NIST Gaithersburg campus on February 1, 2017 to address this question. Participants included federal scientists from the U.S. Depts. of Commerce, Defense, Energy, and Transportation, NASA, the National Science Foundation, and more. Plenary speakers, including Linda Horton from Dept. of Energy, Basic Energy Sciences, Benjamin Leever from the Air Force Research Laboratory, and Heather Evans from NIST shared best practices and lessons learned for planning and managing government agency investments in science, engineering, and technology to enhance the impact of materials research in the U.S. Scientists discussed successes and challenges in strategic planning, coordination, research overlap, the connection between basic and applied research, and leveraging center- and institute-based research structures during breakout sessions. The annual meeting is open to federal scientists.
Collaboration to Understand Armor Backing Material Rheology
Behind-armor blunt trauma is a deformation in the ballistic witness material caused when armor stops a projectile from perforating armor. Understanding the rheological behavior of this material is critical for the future of both Department of Defense and civilian documentary standards that rely on ballistic witness materials for determination of compliance with requirements for behind-armor blunt trauma protection. Recently, members of MML’s Security Technologies Group hosted representatives from the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Aberdeen, Maryland and Aberdeen Test Center (ATC) to discuss rheological characterization of a potential new ballistic witness material being formulated by ARL and ATC designated as ARTIC. NIST will use new specialized technology to characterize the rheological properties of several candidate formulations of ARTIC.
Regenerative Medicine Standards Coordinating Body
More and larger companies are entering the regenerative medicine field through the development of cell therapies such as CAR-T. Standards play an important role in helping to assure the quality of regenerative medicine products and processes, and speed regulatory approval. The Standards Coordinating Body (SCB) is an industry-led public-private partnership with NIST to help coordinate standards development for regenerative medicine. Coordination is key considering the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, which directs the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to confer with NIST and other stakeholders to facilitate the coordination and prioritization of the development of standards for regenerative medicine. MML representatives recently met with representatives of the SCB to discuss priorities for carrying out the intentions of the agreement. The partnership with the SCB will be important as NIST determines how best to prioritize activities in this rapidly evolving field.
NIST/IBM Collaborative Study on Self-Assembled Structure Published
The journal Macromolecules recently published a paper by MML researcher Vivek Prabhu, with a colleague from the IBM Almaden Research Center, on block co-polymer self-assembled structure. The paper shows, through very detailed experiments, that the chemical nature of the end-group of a block co-polymer can strongly affect the microstructure of a self-assembled structure. Block copolymers are like surfactants in that one part of the molecule is different than the other (i.e. ‘likes’ oil or ‘likes’ water). These copolymers self-assemble into a variety of structures that are used in drug delivery, food products, or as microgels. The structure determines the properties such as the rate of a drug delivery. Here, the chemical nature of just the end group, a small part by mass, is strong enough to lead to many structural changes that are probed in detail.