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High School Internship Idaho State University Pocatello Idaho

REU Proposed Student Projects for 2011

Click on the project you want more detailed information on. There is a brief paragraph stating what the project entails as well as a link to the professor you will be working with.

Linearly Polarized Photon Beam Development
Linear accelerator techniques for nonproliferation and homeland security
Neutron flux, reaction rate, and thermal property calculations for nuclear reactors
Photo fission with linearly polarized photons
Enhancement of radiation resistance in microbes
Gene expression profile studies of microbes subject to radiation and other stresses
Photon activation analysis, XRF, and laser ablation studies of stone tools for archeology

Physical & material parameters affecting cross-calibration in XRF and plasma chemistry
Photonuclear production of medical isotopes



Linearly polarized photon beam development


(Dale) The development of the linearly polarized photon facility
involves a number of exciting research projects. While the conceptual
design of the beamline has been completed, we are currently pursuing the
design of two types of polarimeters. One is based on the
photo-disintegration of the deuteron, and the other involves Compton
scattering off of atomic electrons. Once the setup has been completed,
we will be investigating several targets of interest. We will be
measuring neutron angular asymmetries as a function of neutron energy in
a variety of experimental configurations.


Linear accelerator techniques for nonproliferation and homeland security

(Hunt) Students will assist in the development of active inspection
techniques and equipment for nonproliferation and homeland security
applications. Linear accelerators will be used to produce bremsstrahlung
beams to probe cargo containers, vehicles, and other containers for
fissionable material, other radioactive material, and shielding capable
of hiding such materials. As the high-energy photons penetrate materials
containing fissionable isotopes, they induce fission reactions, which
cause the emissions of neutrons and g-rays. These secondary emissions
are then detected which provide a signature of the fissionable
materials. Other radioactive materials and shielding are detected from
characteristic gamma and X-rays. All student work will be non-classified
without any barriers for publications or presentations. REU students
that participate in these projects will gain hands-on experience with
radiation detection, nuclear instrumentation, and data acquisition.


Neutron flux, reaction rate, and thermal property calculations for nuclear reactors

(Imel) The IAEA has published a set of experiments conducted around
the world to serve as benchmarks for reactor physics calculations. REU
students will compare calculations of neutron flux, reaction rates, and thermal
properties in nuclear reactors and sub-critical assemblies to experiment. They
will assist in selection of the experiment to study, set up the computer model,
and analyze the differences, publishing the results.

Students will also perform fairly simple oscillation experiments using the
AGN-201 reactor in the Nuclear Engineering Laboratory with small quantities
of neutron absorbers. The oscillation of small samples has long been a method
to measure certain integral effects in reactor physics. Integral parameters such
as reactivity worth will be inferred using Fourier transform techniques.

Photofission with linearly polarized photons

(Dale, Starovoitova, Cole). Photofission with Linearly Polarized
Photons. We are commissioning an off-axis bremsstrahlung beam facility
which produces a linearly-polarized photon beam in the energy range of 1
to 15 MeV with a polarization of 30%. We are investigating a new
technique for detecting actinides, which takes advantage of the unique
angular signature of neutrons resulting from photofission through
linearly polarized photons. The student’s project will entail both the
hardware and software associated with the VME data acquisition and the
analysis of neutron detectors.


Enhancement of radiation resistance in microbes

(DeVeaux) Students will use established techniques to enhance existing
radiation-resistant microbes to even greater resistance, in order to
reach the physiological limits of life. In this project, students will
be exposed to a wide range of techniques, from standard culturing of
microbes to electron beam dosimetry.

Gene expression profile studies of microbes subject to radiation and other stresses

(DeVeaux) The students will use molecular biology and computer analysis
to compare gene expression profiles of microbial cultures exposed to
various stresses.  In addition, organisms adapted to these stresses will be
analyzed to determine the genetic mechanisms underlying these adaptations. 
Students will also be involved with annotation of sequenced genomes of
uniquely adapted, previously uncharacterized organisms.

Photon activation analysis, XRF, and laser ablation studies of stone tools for archeology

(Maschner) Students will investigate hypotheses about long-term regional
economic interactions using stone tools from Idaho and Alaska. Training
will specifically involve a combination of photon activation analysis,
XRF, and laser ablation ICP for the elemental and isotopic
characterization of stone materials used as ancient tools. Students will
set up tests, perform calibrations, load standards, prepare the
artifacts for analysis, and process the results.

Physical & material parameters affecting cross-calibration in XRF and plasma chemistry

(Dudgeon) Students will investigate trace metals uptake in the bone
collagen of marine and terrestrial mammals and fish using bones from
archaeological sites in Alaska and Idaho that span the last 10,000
years. Using global, regional, and local climate proxies, students will
investigate the role of temperature and rainfall in the uptake of trace
metals by higher trophic levels.

Photonuclear production of medical isotopes


(Starovoitova) Our group investigates photo-nuclear reactions and
specifically designed separation methods to produce number of medical
radio-isotopes. REU students will help create isotopes for study,  perform
measurements of their specific activity and purity, and compare results to
simulations.  Production schemes of several important medical isotopes
are being developed, including F-18, Mo-99, Cu-64,  and Cu-67. The
optimization of integrated production/separation methods is also being
investigated. To efficiently produce a high photon flux necessary for
significant yield, electron accelerators with energy about 30 MeV are
used. Monte-Carlo simulations (using the MCNPX program) are
performed to optimize the geometry of the beamline and the target and
evaluate radiation dose and temperature of a sample.