Graduate Programs - USA
The Pennsylvania State University offers graduate studies in nuclear and radiochemistry which lead to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Programs in these fields may be pursued in either the Department of Chemistry or the Department of Nuclear Engineering. In either case, the student would complete the degree requirements of the respective department and would receive a degree in either chemistry or nuclear engineering. Course offerings are available in nuclear and radiochemistry, radiation protection (health physics), nuclear instrumentation, reactor physics and design, radiation shielding, and advanced chemistry, i.e., quantum and statistical mechanics, kinetics, and thermodynamics.

Research projects in nuclear and radiochemistry (Gary L. Catchen, Ph.D., Columbia University, 1979) include using Perturbed-Angular-Correlation (PAC) spectroscopy to investigate: (1) phase transitions in highly- correlated materials such as ferroelectrics and (2) the bonding-site symmetries of atoms on molecular-beam-epitaxy (MBE) produced surfaces. To perform PAC spectroscopy, radioactive probe atoms that have very special nuclear properties, which include anisotropic g-g cascades and large electric quadrupole moments, are substituted onto lattice sites in the materials of interest. In non-magnetic materials, the PAC technique measures the interactions of the probe's nuclear quadrupole moment with the extranuclear electric field gradients (efgs) produced by the other electrons and nuclei that comprise the lattice. These hyperfine interactions may be either static or time-varying. Static electric quadrupole interactions can provide a measure of the strength and symmetry of the crystal field in the vicinity of the probe nucleus. Time-varying interactions, which produce nuclear-spin relaxation, can provide information about the kinetics of defect transport among other phenomena.

Currently, the facilities available in the Hyperfine Interactions Laboratory include two PAC spectrometers and a Mossbauer Effect spectrometer. Other facilities available at the Pennsylvania State University include a 1 MW TRIGA Mark III Research Reactor, a high-flux neutron generator, hot cells, a low-background counting room, radiation detectors, nuclear instruments, computer-based data acquisition equipment, general radiochemistry laboratories, and a cobalt-60 irradiation facility.
Research and teaching assistantships are available.

For additional information about graduate studies in nuclear and radiochemistry, please contact:
Dr. Gary L. Catchen
Department of Nuclear Engineering
The Pennsylvania State University
Radiation Science and Engineering Center
University Park, PA 16802
PHONE: (814) 865-2011