Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

NRE 8011/8012 and MP 6011/6012 Seminar

Nuclear & Radiological Engineering and Medical Physics Programs


Organic Scintillators: Probing energy transfer mechanisms through radiation interactions


Dr. Patricia Schuster


University of Michigan


Thursday, February 2, 2017 at 11:00:00 AM


Boggs Building, Room 3-47


Dr. Anna Erickson


Organic scintillator materials are employed as radiation detectors in a wide range of applications including nuclear safeguards, security, nonproliferation, and basic science research. They are particularly useful in applications with a mixed field of radiation, as they can discriminate between neutrons, alpha particles, and gamma-rays based on their pulse shape. In some applications, their use is limited by fluctuations in the detector system response due to ambient temperature and, for crystalline materials, interaction direction. The observed dependencies rely on energy transfer mechanisms that lead to or inhibit light emission in these materials, many of which are poorly understood. Thus, continued experimental studies of the response to radiation interactions can provide a window into better understanding those processes, leading to development of improved materials that either enhance or eliminate these effects. In this talk, Dr. Schuster will present her observations and experimental characterizations of the scintillation dependence on particle type, interaction direction, and ambient temperature. She will present a working hypothesis on why these effects exist on a fundamental level, based on the physical chemistry of organic scintillator materials. In addition, Dr. Schuster will present a framework that she aims to develop for understanding excitation dynamics as produced by radiation interactions through a computational kinetic Monte Carlo method.


Dr. Patricia Schuster is the University of Michigan President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences department. She completed her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied radiation detection materials and instrumentation for a broad range of nuclear security applications. Dr. Schuster’s dissertation research was performed at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, CA through the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium. Dr. Schuster has also studied nuclear security policy, including work on cross domain deterrence as implemented historically by US policy makers. In her free time, she enjoys trying new restaurants, taking her dog on hikes, and running with friends.


Refreshments will be served.