Research Areas

ARL’s Technical Strategy highlights a coordinated and synchronized science and technology (S&T) campaign framework. Central to this construct are the following eight S&T campaigns.

1. Extramural Basic Research is focused on steering and oversight of systematic studies to increase fundamental knowledge and understanding in the physical sciences, information sciences, life sciences, and engineering sciences related to long-term national security needs. Basic research helps to discover, understand, and exploit the mathematical, computational, and algorithmic foundations that are expected to create revolutionary capabilities for the Army of 2030 and beyond.

Discoveries are expected to lead to capabilities in communications and materials well beyond classical limits that restrict the performance of current Army systems. They also may lead to capabilities in materials, the information domain, and soldier performance augmentation.

  1. Computational Sciences is focused on advancing the fundamentals of predictive simulation sciences, data-intensive sciences, computing sciences, and emerging computing architectures.
  2. Materials Research is focused on fundamental research for scientific discovery and innovative problem-solving to provide superior materials and devices needed to achieve lasting strategic land power dominance. Specialized electronic materials and devices help achieve Army dominance over the entire electromagnetic spectrum, particularly in contested environments. Discoveries in this area are energy-efficient electronics and hybrid electronics, including conformable and flexible electronics for advanced sensors and processors. Materials and devices for photonic sensors and sources; scalable high-energy lasers; secure communications via quantum networking; and protection of sensors and human eyes against high-power and short-pulse laser threats also fall into this category. Efficient power generation, energy storage, energy harvesting, fuel processing, micropower, and novel alternative energy solutions at lower cost are covered as well.

Biotechnology materials derived through synthetic biology as well as classical approaches are also a focus area. Novel biological materials are combined with inorganic devices to sense chemical and biological agents, generate power from organic sources, and produce materials to create new protection designs inspired by nature. High-strain and ballistic materials research in this area focuses on specialized materials to enhance the performance and efficiency of Army weapons and protection systems including lightweight, extreme-performance materials; novel energetic materials; and energy-absorbing materials.

The Army PACBOT was lightened by 6 pounds by using 3D-printed parts (shown in color). 3D printing in the field means that soldiers won’t always have to wait for spare parts to arrive.

Manufacturing materials and devices may facilitate agile, adaptive, mobile processing, and manufacturing capabilities to enable superior performance and implementation of cost-reduction methodologies. Understanding material properties and degradation mechanisms will help to improve durability of Army systems in extreme environments.

  1. Sciences-for-Maneuver is focused on gaining a greater fundamental understanding of advanced mobility systems and their supporting architectures — critical to the future Army’s movement, sustainment, and maneuverability. This research includes understanding the applications of energy generation, storage, conversion, and management; mechanics research that develops maneuverable platforms for the Army of the future; teaming robots and soldiers to conduct maneuver and military missions; and enabling the rapid and reliable assessment of future Army platform reliability, health, and usage.
  2. Information Sciences is focused on gaining a greater understanding of emerging technology opportunities that support intelligent information systems that perform acquisition, analysis, reasoning, decision-making, collaborative communication, and assurance of information and knowledge. This area includes sensing and exploiting data to drive effectors; effective means for storage, retrieval, and manipulation of data; exploring interactions between information and intelligent systems such as robots and software agents; interactions between information and humans; and understanding interactions of information with cyber attackers — human and/or intelligent agents.
  3. Sciences-for-Lethality and Protection covers emerging technologies that support weapon systems, protection systems, and the mechanisms of injury affecting the warfighter.
  4. Human Sciences helps gain a greater understanding of individual physical, perceptual, and cognitive performance including the relationship between the brain and the body, and interactions with the physical environment. This includes genetics and genomics, molecular biology, and human biochemistry and their impacts on brain structure-function coupling.

Other research areas include ergonomics and biomechanics to increase soldier performance while simultaneously minimizing injury probability; physical augmentation to improve physical load management; wearable and implantable systems and devices for protection and for medical applications; and brain-computer interactions dedicated to understanding and enhancing cognitive performance and protection against cognitive harm.

8. Analysis and Assessment is focused on modernizing the Army’s capabilities in engineering-level analyses of technologies and systems, and leveraging those strengths to create fundamentally new capabilities.

Technology Transfer

ARL developed a hybrid unmanned aerial vehicle that transforms in flight. The UAV tilts its rotors to go from hovering like a helicopter to flying like an airplane. For testing, a large paper half-circle was attached to the prototype to slow it down. (Photo: David McNally)

The ARL Technology Transfer (T2) Office aims to promote the transfer of ARL-developed Intellectual Property (IP) from the laboratory to the private sector through the establishment of strategic partnerships and promotion of research opportunities, facilities, and capabilities.

Many of ARL’s innovative technologies are available for exclusive licensing, often at competitive rates, and the T2 Office works to find entrepreneurs, businesses, and technologists to transition these technologies to the commercial market.

For a list of available technologies and information on other collaboration opportunities, visit here . Learn more about the Army Research Laboratory here .