Important contributions have been made recently by several research groups working in the following areas: inertial electrostatic confinement for fusion applications and for neutron, X-ray, and gamma radiation sources; energy cell performance for heat release and material transmutations; advanced computational techniques applied to stochastic radiation transport, reactor physics, and safety, including Lie groups and group invariant difference schemes; perceptual displays and temporal pattern recognition applied to reactor control and operation; nuclear nonproliferation and safeguards; fusion blanket and diverter materials behavior and performance; plasma processing of electronic materials, plasma-induced sputtering, and plasma measurements; nuclear radiation effects on materials and neutron scattering measurements; materials behavior under high-temperature corrosion and radiation bombardment environments, including nondestructive examination; magnetic resonance imaging for cancer cell treatment; and thermal hydraulics, including multiphase flows, boiling in porous media, molten jet breakup, and turbulent structure modeling; and large-scale computer modeling of fission reactor systems, including reactor and control systems visualization.
Currently active research groups include:
Dr. George Miley, director
In additional to general fusion research, the research group is working on inertial electrostatic confinement fusion in conjunction with Daimler-Benz Aerospace, dense plasma focus, plus much of the pioneering work on direct energy conversion for nuclear pumped lasers.
Part of the research in the Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) Lab consists of experiments that use either an electrolysis process, a high pressure, or an arc process to force hydrogen atoms into the lattice structure of a thin film (500-1000 A) of metal. A major goal of this research is to examine the metal before and after the experiment, to establish the signatures of LENRs by studying transmutation products. Another goal is to measure the energy output of the unit. If an ample amount is released, such cells offer an attractive small power source for future distributed energy systems.
Dr. Ling Jian Meng, director
Our research is on developing radiation sensor and systems for visualizing the distribution of radioactivity in surrounding objects, patients, and small lab animals etc. Current emphasis includes (a) developing novel radiation sensors for detecting X-ray, gamma rays and neutrons, and (b) developing nuclear techniques for detecting and imaging a tiny amount radiolabeled molecules inside small lab animals.
Dr. David Ruzic, director
The group studies particle-surface interactions relevant to fusion power and materials processing systems through a combination of computational and experimental means.
Dr. James F. Stubbins, director
The group investigates a wide variety of topics within the realm of materials research including mechanical properties, microstructural evaluations, plus radiation damage investigations, and modeling. Materials such as copper alloys nickel-based alloys, stainless steels, ferritic steels, and silicon-carbide composites are studied using a variety of analytical techniques electron microscopy and spectroscopy.
Dr. Rizwan Uddin, director
The group focuses on the development of innovative numerical methods and their implementation on high performance computing machines. Research efforts center on problems in nuclear engineering, with emphasis on thermal-hydraulics and reactor physics.