Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE) Professor Michael Short, along with the NRL’s David Carpenter, Gordon Kohse, and Lin-Wen Hu, have received a $215,000 award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to upgrade the NRL’s Post-Irradiation Examination (PIE) capabilities. The award is part of the DOE program for Scientific Infrastructure Support and Consolidated Innovative Nuclear Research, and will be used to create a dedicated PIE facility with capabilities that do not currently exist in the Northeastern U.S.
The facility has been dubbed the ”NSE '05 PIE Center” in reference to both Mike Short and David Carpenter being members of the NSE’s undergraduate class of 2005. Since 2005, Mike and David have remained at MIT; first as graduate students and now as researchers who are significantly expanding both the department’s and lab’s experimental resources for nuclear materials research.
The Center will be located inside of the NRL’s secure radiologically controlled area, where it will be used to prepare and examine highly radioactive materials. The Center will include sectioning and polishing equipment, as well as optical and electron microscopes. By having sample preparation and examination instruments dedicated for use with radioactive materials, the PIE Center will provide the NRL with capabilities to examine materials that cannot be handled at other locations on the MIT campus. The new facility can also be used to reduce the size of radioactive samples and/or to remove radioactive contamination so that the materials can be transported and analyzed at another facility. The arrangement will fundamentally support increased collaboration between Professor Short’s Mesoscale Nuclear Materials (MNM) Lab and the NRL’s Reactor Experiments Group, of which Dr. David Carpenter is the group leader.
The PIE Center will increase the attractiveness, viability, and variety of future in-core and out-of-core irradiation experiments at the NRL by complementing the lab’s unique neutron irradiation capabilities. It will also create an educational opportunity for hands-on research, training, and teaching of radiation materials science. Research and educational opportunities made possible by the new facility will be available to other MIT researchers, as well as to the greater scientific community.