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The Research and Exploratory Development (RED) Mission Area is APL’s research engine. We conduct pioneering research targeting game-changing breakthroughs to benefit national security missions. While each program within the RED Mission Area has a specific research focus, we recognize that innovation often happens at the intersection of technical disciplines. Therefore, we bring together multidisciplinary teams of talented scientists and engineers to tackle difficult challenges and invent the future for APL and our sponsors.

RED Mission Area Executive: Andrew Merkle


Advanced Science and Technology Development

Incubating emerging technology and accelerating transformative innovation to invent the future. Our team specializes in exploring emerging research areas and improving intelligence and defense capabilities through applied mathematics, social sciences, and its newest focus, environmental resilience.

Alternative Computing Paradigms

Innovating and securing computing solutions to previously intractable and unimaginable computational problems. Our team specializes in a diverse portfolio encompassing research in low-temperature physics, trustworthy computing, and quantum information science.

Biological and Chemical Sciences

Revolutionizing research that unlocks the power of biology and chemistry for military operations and environmental security. Leveraging APL’s technical expertise, our team works to identify intersections of emerging military needs and domain opportunity in the fields of biomimetics, environmental security, indications and warnings, novel sensing paradigms, and operational enablers.

Human and Machine Intelligence

Enabling better, faster, and trusted decisions for humans and machines. We lead multidisciplinary research to perceive, decide, act, and team well beyond what is possible through human cognition alone, specifically focusing on AI exploration, AI vulnerabilities and defenses, biological intelligence, contextual intelligence, and teaming at the speed of thought.

Robotics and Autonomy

Conducting world-class research to significantly advance state-of-the-art national security missions. Our team is pioneering high-risk, high-reward research in revolutionary robotic systems, robotic intuition, robust robotic super agility, and teaming and trust.

Science of Extreme and Multifunctional Materials

Fabricating the future by creating materials that enable new capabilities in and for extreme environments. Our team utilizes advanced chemistry, materials science, and computational tools across a variety of areas, inventing the future of research in extreme materials, materials characterization, materials design, synthesis, and manufacturing, and multifunctional materials.

Signature, Electromagnetics, and Energy Research

Inventing the future of electromagnetics and materials for critical capabilities. Our team develops novel capabilities and solves critical challenges in a wide range of scientific fields to include electromagnetics, emerging research, energy, and signature science.

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