Penn State has received a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for nuclear threat inspection, as part of a team led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and including Georgia Tech.
The proposal, titled "Low-Dose Inspection for Nuclear Threats Using Monochromatic Gamma-Rays," is led at Penn State by co-principal investigators Igor Jovanovic, the Bashore Faculty Development Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Zoubeida Ounaies, the Dorothy Quiggle Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Cory Trivelpiece, a research associate at the Materials Research Institute, is also part of the effort.
The grant stems from the DHS and NSF Academic Research Initiative focusing on domestic nuclear detection, and is the only large multidisciplinary grant this program awarded to universities in the past five years.
The program is designed to develop new systems and sensors that will help detect nuclear weapons, special nuclear materials, radiation dispersal devices and related threats.
"As part of this collaborative research with MIT and Georgia Tech, Penn State will design, build and test novel composite detectors capable to discriminate among different types of radiation. We will also participate in integrated experimental campaigns at the MIT accelerator facility, with a goal to perform better inspections for special nuclear materials while simultaneously reducing the radiation dose," Jovanovic said.