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Seminar | Physics Seminar | Physics Division

Nuclear Physics Applications at the University of Notre Dame

Physics Seminar

Abstract: Over the past two years, the Nuclear Science Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame has expanded its program in applied nuclear physics to complement its research strength in nuclear astrophysics. A fourth accelerator (St. Andre) is now operational and is used for several types of societal” applications of nuclear science ranging from the more traditional archeology and target thickness determinations, to scanning consumer products for the presence of flame retardants, and other chemicals of concern. Specifically, our work has expanded to develop a rapid screening technique for an emerging class of chemicals of concern: per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) that are ubiquitous in textiles, food packaging, personal care products, and various industrial uses. Some interesting recent results will be presented that have led to policy changes because of the public attention surrounding the results. In addition, we are working to develop methods to produce long-lived radioisotopes that are useful in medicine, stewardship. and elsewhere. This involves harvesting” efforts from operating accelerator facilities to collect unused isotopes as well as production of proton-rich isotopes that are difficult to obtain from other sources. An overview of the applied nuclear physics program and facilities at Notre Dame will be presented, together with our vision for student training opportunities in this program.