The Monthly Webinar Series focuses on research being conducted at the partner labs of the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium.

This is a great opportunity for students to connect with lab scientists and learn about projects looking for student researchers.


April: Nick Scielzo, LLNL

If you or someone you know would be interested in presenting a webinar contact

Past Webinars

Spatially Resolved Uranium Speciation in Nuclear Materials by Scanning Transmission X-ray Microscopy

Dr. David Shuh

February 28th, 2017

Picture1The production and manipulation of nuclear material can leave distinct physical and chemical signatures, which can later be characterized to provide evidence of the origin and process history of an unidentified specimen, a field known as ‘nuclear forensics’. A broad variety of analytical chemistry techniques can provide information about interdicted and post-detonation materials. Here, we present the results of several research studies of uranium-bearing forensic specimens by soft X-ray scanning transmission X-ray microscopy (STXM). STXM yields X-ray absorption spectroscopy data with 25-nm or better spatial resolution, making it possible to quantitatively evaluate variations in oxidation state and other chemical properties across a heterogeneous specimen. Operating in the soft X-ray regime provides access to the NIV,V edges of the actinides and the oxygen K edge, which is highly sensitive to variations in U-O bonding, and consequently carries unique fingerprints of uranium oxides and their hydrates. Thus, this approach makes it possible to evaluate the oxidation state and the heterogeneity of nuclear forensic samples, yielding information on formation or process history, and/or past storage conditions. In studies of U-bearing glassy materials, the L edges of some transition metals (particularly iron, which influences the redox behavior of uranium) can provide additional insights. Technical developments in STXM operations relevant to forensics are also summarized. In particular, we report on improvements in sample preparation and rapid data analysis methods implemented in STXM experiments at Beamline 11.0.2 of the Advanced Light Source.  LLNL-ABS-690941

Dr. David Shuh is a senior scientist in the Heavy Element Chemistry Group of the Chemical Sciences Division and the Director of the Glenn T. Seaborg Center at LBNL. Dr. Shuh’s research focuses comprehensively on the science of the f-elements, in particular the actinide elements with an emphasis on the transuranic elements (e.g., neptunium, plutonium, americium, curium). He is a world-renowned expert in the development of large-scale synchrotron radiation instrumentation and techniques to explore the fundamental chemistry and physics of f-electron materials. His current interests focus on determining the electronic structure and coordination chemistry of f-electron and novel materials to understand their physical and chemical behavior.


Compact quasi-monoenergetic photon applications and sources for nuclear applications

Dr. Cameron Geddes

January 24, 2017

cgrgeddes_145pxNear-monoenergetic photon sources at MeV energies offer improved sensitivity at reduced dose for nuclear nonproliferation and related applications.  Assessments of application-specific benefit from mono energetic photons will be described, including for cargo screening, active interrogation, treaty verification, nondestructive assay, and emergency response.   Thomson (also referred to as Compton) scattering sources are an established method to produce appropriate photon beams.  Applications are however restricted by the size of the required high-energy electron accelerator, scattering (photon production) system, and shielding for disposal of the high-energy electron beam. Laser-plasma accelerators (LPAs) produce GeV electron beams in centimeters, using the plasma wave driven by the radiation pressure of an intense laser.   Designs, and development of an experimental facility to demonstrate a compact photon source using such accelerators will be described, together with the path to a application-relevant photon source system.

Dr. Geddes is a staff scientist in the BELLA center of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, investigating use of laser driven plasma waves to build compact next generation particle accelerators and photon sources.  These accelerators sustain much higher accelerating fields than conventional devices, allowing compact machines.  His current project is developing compact sources of near-monochromatic MeV photons for nuclear material detection and characterization


Cryogenic Gamma-ray detectors with Ultra-High Energy Resolution

Stephan Friedrich

December 1, 2016

friedrichMagnetic microcalorimeter (MMCs) gamma-ray detectors with operating temperatures below 50 mK offer an order of magnitude higher energy resolution than semiconducting Ge and Si detectors. They are based on measuring the change in magnetization after gamma absorption increases the detector temperature. MMCs can have an energy resolution <50 eV at 60 keV, and therefore detect isotopes whose gamma emissions are obscured by line overlap in conventional Ge detectors. The high energy resolution can greatly improve the accuracy of non-destructive analysis of nuclear materials, both in fundamental science and nuclear safeguards applications. We are currently developing arrays of MMC detectors to increase the detector sensitivity. We are also building refrigerators to make operating temperatures of 15 mK accessible fully automated and without the use of cryogenic liquids. This talk discusses the design and performance of MMC gamma detectors at LLNL, and outlines experiments that can serve as thesis project for graduate students who are interested in ultra-high resolution detector development.

Stephan Friedrich received his Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Yale University in 1997 with a dissertation on superconducting tunnel junction X-ray detectors for high-energy astrophysics. He then adapted these detectors for operation at the ALS synchrotron at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab for biophysics and material science experiments. Since 2002, Dr. Friedrich has led the cryogenic detector group at Lawrence Livermore National Lab, developing ultra-high resolution X-ray and gamma-ray detectors for basic science and national security applications. He has supervised several graduate students who have written their theses on cryogenic detector development and the experiments they enable.

Nuclear Security Programs at Sandia National Laboratories

Sheryl Hingorani

November 7, 2016

HingoraniSheryl Hingorani will describe a variety of Nuclear Security Programs underway at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, CA.  Sheryl will also discuss opportunities for possible student intern placements.


Sheryl Hingorani leads Sandia’s Systems Analysis and Engineering organization in Livermore, California. Ms. Hingorani started her career at Sandia in 1986, as a mechanical design engineer, and has spent most of her career working in a variety of positions in Sandia’s Nuclear Weapons program, including as Sandia’s Nuclear Weapons Chief of Staff, and as Chair of the independent Red Team for the Annual Assessment of the state of health of the U.S. nuclear stockpile. Ms. Hingorani received a special appointment to Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at Sandia in 1998, and moved into management in 2004. She completed studies as a Fellow with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for International Studies, and was the recipient of the Leadership Foundation Fellowship from the International Women’s Forum. Between 2000 and 2005, Ms. Hingorani was the Executive Director of the Albuquerque Committee on Foreign Relations; she also served as Secretary for the American Committees on Foreign Relations for two years. Ms. Hingorani is a Laboratory Advisor to the Defense Science Board Special Task Force on Weapons of Mass Destruction, and is a Laboratory Affiliate to the California Council on Science and Technology. She is member of the Society of Women Engineers.

December 9, 2015: Patricia Schuster, University of California, Berkeley

Investigating Directional Depending in Organic Crystal Scintillator Materials


November 17, 2015 NSSC-CVT Joint Webinar: David Reyna, Sandia National Laboratories

Applications of Antineutrino Detection for Reactor Safeguards and Security

Video not available.


October 6, 2015: Natalia Zaitseva, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

New Organic Scintillators for Wide-Energy Neutron Detection

Video not available.


May 7, 2015: Aaron Manalaysay, University of California, Davis

Detection of Very Low-Energy Ionizing Radiation: From Dark Matter to Neutrinos

April 14, 2015: Sheryl Hingorani, Sandia National Laboratories

Challenges and Complexities of 21st Century Deterrence


March 10, 2015: Stephan Friedrich, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Cryogenic Ultra-High Energy Resolution Gamma Detection for Scientific and Safeguards Applications

February 10, 2015: Shawn Tornga, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Overview of Research at LANL’s Space Science and Applications Group


November 18, 2014: Sherry Faye, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Optimization and Application of a Sequential Extraction Procedure for Analysis of Multiple Actinide Elements