My research falls into basically three major areas. One of them is concerned with the processes and astrophysical conditions that result in the synthesis of the heavy elements in the cosmos. This is the ruling domain of nuclear physics. Nuclear reactions determine the fate of many astrophysical events, the life and death of stars, and the energy produced by them. The second area has to do with studying the vibrational and rotational degrees of freedom of nuclei. The nucleus is a many body system ruled by the strong force and effected by the weak electromagnetic forces. While most quantum mechanical systems such as molecules and atoms have well established and recognized degrees of freedom, in nuclei, the topic is still up to debate due to the paucity of experimental evidence. The third and most recent growing area of my work is with applications of nuclear science using isotopes. Both stable and radioactive isotopes are vital to the science and technology basis of the US economy. They provide the tools to expand the scope of science and engineering research from medicine to biology, chemistry, and physics, environmental sciences, material science, drug discovery, medical diagnostics, nutrition, agriculture and stockpile stewardship for homeland security.
My talk will focus on the developments of new isotopes for medical diagnostics and therapies using cyclotron and accelerator-based methods. New techniques have been developed in working with actinide materials for the preparations of robust and thin targets for stockpile stewardship studies. This has been done in collaboration with the Actinide Center in Engineering. This area is one of great national need and grand challenge for the national laboratories. Finally, the implementation of new techniques for the easy production of materials that are self-healing in large quantities for Thorium based nuclear energy applications.
Originally published at chemistry.nd.edu.