Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

Faculty Candidate Seminar


Science and security applications of organic scintillator radiation detectors


Dr. Patricia Schuster


University of Michigan


Thursday, February 14, 2019 at 11:00:00 AM


Boggs Building, Room 3-47


Dr. Steven Biegalski


Radiation detectors are instrumental for identifying, characterizing, and imaging radiation and radioactive sources in many areas including nuclear security, nonproliferation, safeguards, and basic science research. Organic scintillator materials are particularly useful as radiation detectors because of their ability to detect neutrons and gamma rays simultaneously and discriminate between them, but they face performance limitations for neutrons below 1 MeV. In this talk, Dr. Schuster will introduce several systems that employ organic scintillators, including the LANL LANSCE Chi-Nu array for basic science measurements and the CONFIDANTE coded aperture imager for zero-knowledge warhead verification. Then she will share her work to better understand the physical processes that govern performance limitations, including experimental characterization of the scintillation dependence on particle type, interaction direction, and temperature. Finally, Dr. Schuster will share her perspectives on how radiation detection technologies stand to gain from leveraging new technologies such as 3D printing, multi-model detection, and sensor fusion.


Dr. Patricia Schuster is a University of Michigan President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences department. Her research focuses on radiation detection materials and instrumentation for a broad range of nuclear security applications. She completed her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley in 2016, and she performed her dissertation research at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, CA through the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium. Dr. Schuster also studies nuclear security policy, including work on cross-domain deterrence and arms control. In her free time, she enjoys trying new recipes, taking her dog on hikes, and running with friends.


Refreshments will be served.