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Materials Science and Engineering Division

MSED works across diverse stakeholder communities to foster innovation through the development of measurements, models, data, and standards needed to advance technology and facilitate manufacturing in industrial sectors such as electronics, transportation, civil infrastructure, biopharmaceuticals, energy and the environment.

Welcome to the Materials Science and Engineering Division

The Materials Science and Engineering Division performs leading-edge measurement science research, working closely with our stakeholders to impact a broad range of science and technology areas. Our core areas of competence are grounded in the discipline of materials science and engineering (structure-property-processing relationships) with specific focus on metallurgy, polymer science, and functional materials. This expertise has expanded in recent years to include nanoscale materials (2D materials), complex fluids (colloids, emulsions), advanced devices (electronic, magnetic, energy), and advanced manufacturing (additive, biomanufacturing).

Projects and Programs

NIST Priority Area

MSED Project or Program


MSED is leading the development of the measurement and data infrastructure needed to ensure that advanced materials can be deployed in the complex, dynamic environments that exist in manufacturing. We provide stakeholders access to and knowledge about powerful, integrated capabilities (e.g., materials data and informatics, computational methods, unique measurement facilities) within a pre-competitive environment that can advance both their specific needs and new materials design and manufacturing concepts.

Additive Manufacturing of Metals

Advanced Materials Design: Structural Applications

Polymer Additive Manufacturing and Rheology

Automotive Lightweighting

Dynamic Plasticity:  Non-Equilibrium Mechanics

Hardness Standardization and Measurements 

Fundamentals of Polymer Mechanics 


MSED is developing measurement-based solutions and capabilities to facilitate innovations in materials design, device architecture, and fabrication processes, particularly those relevant to transistor devices, memory, and interconnects.  To address relevant technological challenges, we provide measurements to enable materials and process development as well as advances in dimensional measurements, chemical composition, and the properties of materials and material interfaces associated with reduced feature sizes, increased geometric complexities, and low chemical contrast.

Low Dimensional and Magnetic Thin Film Materials

Advanced Materials Design:  Electronic Applications 


Metrology for Nanolithography

Particles, Tubes, and Colloids


Building on our polymers expertise, MSED is developing and applying unique measurement capabilities and well-defined materials for guiding and evaluating biomanufacturing processes and product formulation.  We are pursuing advancements in lab automation and AI/ML methods in combination with our expertise in light, soft X-ray, and neutron scattering and in fluidics and flow metrology to enable innovation in bioformulations, particularly involving measurements of highly concentrated solutions and stability mapping.

Polyelectrolyte Solutions and Gels

Fluid Suspensions and Emulsions 

Resonant Soft X-ray Scattering (RSoXS)



MSED is creating new measurement capabilities, data platforms, and well-defined materials to support mechanical and chemical reprocessing of post-consumer resin (PCR) waste streams, including molecular and polymer processes and associated measurements to identify and separate, compatibilize, and depolymerize PCR for reuse in production processes. 

Macromolecular Architectures

Polymer Additive Manufacturing and Rheology 

Polymer Analytics


MSED is addressing materials and measurement challenges for Direct Air Capture (DAC) technologies associated with the use of polymer membranes and solid sorbent materials and for electrocatalytic conversion of carbon dioxide into useful chemicals and specialty products.  These and other division capabilities are also being applied to underpin clean energy technologies.

Polymer Membranes


Flexible and Printed Electronics


MSED is developing a range of measurement capabilities to evaluate defects and damage progression in polymer matrix composites with an emphasis on novel optical, spectroscopic, and mechanical techniques.

Polymer Composites


MSED has a strong history in the development of new measurement science capabilities.

Resonant Soft X-ray Scattering (RSoXS)

Magnetic Materials Metrology / Thermal MaGIC 

Measuring Intermolecular Interactions with Electro-Acoustic Spectroscopy 

Stroboscopic Transmission Electron Microscopy 

Software, Data and Computational Tools


JARVIS-ML is a repository of machine learning (ML) model parameters, descriptors, and ML related input and target data. JARVIS-ML is a part of the NIST-JARVIS

Object Oriented Finite Elements (OOF)

OOF is a collaborative effort between the Information Technology Laboratory and the Material Measurement Laboratory at NIST. The intended audience of the OOF

CHiMaD Phase Field Community

CHiMaD Phase Field Website Repository See the live website at In January 2015 a group of phase field

Materials Data Repository

The NIST Materials Data Repository is open to the research community interested in developing best practices in the management of materials data. We are


Zeno is a software tool which computes physical properties for a particle or molecule. ITL has accelerated the software by a factor of 10,000x.



This consortium delivers technology and expertise within neutron-based measurement science to U.S. based industrial researchers. The impact of the consortium is based on close and extended collaboration, where member companies often have staff positioned on the NIST campus for extended periods of time. Members, having participated on-site at the NIST Center for Neutron Research, gain the expertise in the use of equipment and software targeted toward their sector of manufacturing. 


The objective of this consortium is to develop the measurement methodology, standards and analysis necessary for the U.S. auto industry and base metal suppliers to transition to advanced lightweight materials for auto body components without wasteful trial-and-error development cycles, and successfully transfer this technology to our customers in industry.


This is a continuing series of highly controlled benchmark tests for additive manufacturing, with modeling challenge problems. Results are discussed at the corresponding conference series.

News and Updates