Advanced Materials

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Institute for Functional Imaging of Materials


The ORNL Institute for Functional Imaging of Materials (IFIM) is being formed with the specific objective of catalyzing advances in imaging technologies integrated with deep data. The Institute will be a leader in fostering the emerging synergy between imaging-related areas and computational sciences. IFIM will bring together teams with expertise in imaging instrumentation, fundamentals in physical and chemical imaging processes, and data analytics, integrating ORNL core strengths and competencies in imaging and associated technologies. Its members will be comprised from multiple ORNL organizations, reflecting the intrinsically multidisciplinary nature of next-generation imaging sciences. The IFIM will revolutionize our ability to understand phenomena and processes in broad areas of science--physics, chemistry, materials sciences, life and environmental sciences and associated technology areas.

Specifically, IFIM will focus on addressing existing technical barriers to develop revolutionary capabilities in imaging technologies to allow applications to broad areas of science and technology at ORNL, including:

  • Development of next generation imaging technologies, including simultaneous multidimensional modalities of imaging, in situ and in operando imaging, dynamic imaging, among others.
  • Discovery and application of new data approaches to extract relevant information from multidimensional data sets at different resolutions and information contents in an unbiased and quantitative manner.
  • Visualization and analysis for complete and consistent interpretation of images obtained for the same material but by different techniques (with differing spatial resolution and data quality).
  • Creation of comprehensive frameworks for comparing imaging data to macroscopic functionalities and predictive theories on the level of microscopic degrees of freedom.
  • Enabling imaging technologies to be applied to new types of materials under real-world conditions and science- and application-driven problems

The IFIM will position ORNL to be a world-leading center for imaging materials and processes across atomic to mesoscales. The initial thrusts areas will include existing strengths in electron/atom probe and scanning probe microscopy imaging, mass spectrometry and optical imaging, neutron and X-ray imaging, and computational imaging and data analytics. While the IFIM is rooted in core capabilities in physical and computational sciences, IFIM will enable new capabilities across broad areas of ORNL’s science and technology portfolios.

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