Big Science.
Big Opportunities.

Our goal is to serve the nation as the world’s premier research institution, empowering leaders and teams to pursue breakthroughs in an environment marked by operational excellence and engagement with the communities where we live and work.

Leaders in Science and Innovation

We always ask, “What’s next?” We stand ready for the unexpected. Today, we are applying our expertise in several areas in the global fight against COVID-19, and we are looking to the future.

Building the World's Premier Research Institution

National labs are distinguished by their ability to assemble large teams of experts from a variety of scientific and technical disciplines to tackle compelling national problems. They also design, build, and operate powerful scientific facilities that are available to the international research community. From the start, ORNL has applied scientific discoveries and new technologies to address pressing challenges in the areas of clean energy and global security and to create economic opportunity for the nation. Today, Oak Ridge is the most diverse of the Department of Energy’s 17 national laboratories, providing leadership in energy research and technology, advanced materials, nuclear science and engineering, neutron science, isotope production, national security, environmental and biological sciences, and high-performance computing. Resources like these enable the U.S. to compete in what former ORNL Director Alvin Weinberg called the arena of “Big Science” and they empower our researchers to pursue knowledge that’s fundamental to solving some of our world’s greatest challenges.

Biology and Environment

We sequenced the poplar genome and are leveraging these data with ORNL-developed algorithms and supercomputing to engineer better bioenergy feedstocks and more climate-resilient crops.

Clean Energy

Our magnetic coils and power electronics enable the extreme fast charging of electric vehicles— wirelessly. ORNL’s expertise also supports industry and has set standards for energy efficiency. We host the Center for Bioenergy Innovation to seek more efficient biofuels.

Fusion and Fission

A multidisciplinary team is printing a microreactor to help industry address high costs and lengthy deployment timelines that threaten the future of nuclear energy—the nation’s largest carbon-free energy source.


We produce unique medical isotopes for life-saving treatments and diagnoses, including actinium-227  a critical material for making a highly effective prostate cancer drug.


We developed a new class of affordable, lightweight superalloys that can withstand temperatures almost 100 degrees Celsius hotter than existing commercial alloys in complex engine parts.

National Security

The Mobile Uranium Facility equips ORNL staff members to characterize, process, package, and transport uranium materials anywhere in the world. We are using our scientific capabilities to counter enduring and emerging threats to national security

Neutron Science

We use neutrons to directly observe battery behavior in pursuit of safer, more reliable energy storage and extended battery life, to study the behavior of drugs in combating disease, and much more.


Our scientists are cracking the code on opioid addiction using Summit, one of the world’s fastest supercomputers, to perform immense calculations on genomic data. Summit provides unique multi-precision computing capabilities that are ideal for artificial intelligence and machine learning applications.