Research

This page is intended to provide a brief summary of current and recent research at the UMD Radiation Facilities (this is under construction and always will be).

• Trinity Test Site Neutron Flux Study
PI: T. Koeth & W. Kolb

Europium-152 is the most prominent activation product found today in fused soil produced by the first nuclear explosion. By reactivating this material and comparing with current activity, the original exposure can be estimated. From neutron measurements made at the time of the explosion, the initial location of soil samples will be determined and related to the location where they were actually found to derive a model for the way soil is dispersed when a nuclear fireball interacts with the ground.

• The Effects of Radiation-Induced Crystallographic Disorder on Exotic Phases of Matter
PI: J. Paglione

The Paglione group's research on quantum materials makes use of the irradiation facilities in order to study the effects of radiation-induced crystallographic disorder on the physical properties of various exotic phases of matter, including magnetism, superconductivity, topological phases of matter and other quantum phenomena. As an example, it is well known that different types of superconductors have different sensitivities to disorder that depend on the nature of the way electrons are paired to form the superconducting condensate. The use of electron- and gamma ray irradiation to induce a controlled and varying amount of disorder in single-crystal samples allows for detailed studies of this dependence to provide fundamental information about the superconducting Cooper pair wave function that can discriminate between conventional and unconventional superconductivity.

• Neutron Radiography & Imaging Optimization at MUTR
PI: M. Coplan & T. Koeth

At the Maryland University Training Reactor (MUTR) a neutron imaging facility for neutron radiography is under development.  Presently, radiometric images of hydrogen containing materials up to 50 mm in diameter have been obtained with a resolution of better than 100 microns.  This is sufficient for a wide variety of investigations including composite materials structures, minerals impregnated with hydrocarbons, and the resolution of hydrogen containing objects imbedded in metal matrices.  Work is underway to improve the resolution, decrease the exposure time, and increase the effective object size.

• Radiation-induced aging of scintillators for HEP experiments
P.I.: A. Belloni, S. Eno

The UMD HEP group is investigating the radiation tolerance of organic scintillators (both plastic and liquid), to be used in future upgrades of the CMS detector, located at CERN, Switzerland. The Co-60 source has been used to irradiate various types of scintillators, to study how their light yield is affected by radiation, as a function of both the total dose and the dose rate. In particular, the UMD group is leading the evaluation of the radiation tolerance of long-wavelength scintillators, liquid scintillators, and plastic scintillators with an enhanced concentration of scintillating dopants.

Radiation-induced damage of plastic scintillators
P.I.: A. Belloni, S. Eno, T. Koeth

In the next generation of general-purpose particle detectors, scintillating materials may be deployed in unusual conditions, which could cause a premature degradation of their performance. We plan to test how radiation modifies the light yield of organic scintillators, as a function of environmental conditions, with particular attention to temperature and oxygen concentration. We also intend to irradiate the scintillator samples while they are embedded in a 1T magnetic field, to mimic more realistically the operating conditions at the current LHC experiments.