Chemical science


Chemical science at Los Alamos started with the production and subsequent chemical separation of plutonium during the Manhattan Project.

Additional mission-related chemistry was required in the disciplines of high explosives synthesis and characterization, nuclear materials process chemistry, and chemical characterization, among others.

Over the years these core capabilities have grown, and today a strong core of chemistry capability at the Laboratory is essential to nearly every aspect of the Laboratory’s national security science mission.


  • Actinide chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemical processing and engineering
  • Chemical theory and modeling
  • Chemistry at extreme conditions
  • Chemistry of materials
  • Data analysis and modeling for chemistry
  • Isotope science
  • Measurement and detection science
  • Nano-chemistry
  • Plutonium process chemistry
  • Polymer chemistry
  • Radiochemistry and nuclear science
  • Synthetic and mechanistic chemistry

Research directions

  • Weapons chemistry and nuclear performance
  • Signatures: Radiological, nuclear, chemical
  • Energy production, storage, and utilization 
  • Biomedical technologies
  • Emerging threats

Keywords: actinide biochemistry data analysis energy production isotope science nano-chemistry plutonium storage

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