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AAMU Scientists Aiming for Better Nuclear Detection

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Huntsville, Ala. ---- Alabama A&M University researchers are using book sense, conceptual modeling and innovation to come up with improvements aimed at better nuclear detection for homeland security uses.


 Nuke1.jpgJust over a year ago, Dr. Stephen Egarievwe received a $360,000 grant from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).   Now, working in partnership with Dr. Ralph James and other scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Egarievwe has been able to extend his research through a joint $2 million, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Homeland Security.


A major component of the AAMU scientist’s research is the development of an advanced nuclear detection device that does away with the commonly current need for an accompanying cooling apparatus.  Existing detection devices are used in maritime and port security, border security, transportation security and domestic nuclear security, says Egarievwe.


However, if the AAMU researchers can come up with a way to eliminate or minimize the cooling compartment, without compromising performance, then doors of possibility may open for the production better handheld devices. 


Egarievwe hopes to achieve his goal through improved cadmium manganese telluride (CMT) and cadmium zinc telluride (CZT) nuclear detectors, using a combination of theory, modeling and novel experimental techniques to increase their resolution and directional sensitivity.



Additionally, the project pulls together a team comprising junior faculty members and students. It both broadens their credentials and engages them in the process of earning graduate degrees in 
areas critical to cutting-edge nuclear and radiological detection technologies.  Already, two undergraduates co-authored scientific papers in an international journal for nuclear science. 


Moreover, the integration of research into education and workforce development by Dr. Egarievwe has provided hand-on training and scholarship opportunities for students across the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at AAMU and other minority serving institutions.


Dr. Egarievwe is the national secretary of INCREASE (The Interdisciplinary Consortium for Research and Educational Access in Science and Engineering), an organization that promote research in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other minority-serving institutions (MSIs), involving utilization of national user facilities.  He is also the Chair of Engineering, Construction Management and Industrial Technology, Alabama A&M University.


For additional information on the research project, contact Dr. Egarievwe at (256) 372-8952.


by Jerome Saintjones