Experimental Nuclear Physics
B.Sc. (Physics) Université Catholique de Louvain, 1998
M.Sc. (Physics) Université Catholique de Louvain, 1999
Ph.D. (Physics) Université Catholique de Louvain, 2004
Address: NSH 222
Phone: (574) 631-3990 office
or (574) 631-7716 nuclear science lab
Fax: (574) 631-5952
My research focuses on the study of nuclear reactions, mostly of astrophysical importance but also related to isotope production for medical and research purposes. In the context of nuclear astrophysics, my interest lies in the study of radiative captures, the fusion of two nuclei with the release of gammas rays. Radiative captures, involving either hydrogen or helium, play a crucial role in the nucleosynthesis, the process in which most of the elements present in the universe are created. Most important radiative capture reactions have cross sections (reaction probabilities) so small that their measurement has been, until now, limited by background interference. My research concentrates on developing techniques to overcome that limitation through two different methods. First, I am using the recoil separator technique at Notre Dame with the St. George recoil separator and in collaboration with Michigan State University for the SECAR separator. The second method I am using is to study low cross section nuclear reactions deep underground. I am part of the CASPAR collaboration, which is installing a low energy accelerator in an old South Dakota gold mine transformed into a science laboratory.
My research related to isotope production currently concentrates on the accelerator based production of 99mTc. This isotope is used in 15 million diagnostic procedures every year in the USA. However, the last decade has seen serious shortages of this isotope, with more expected due to the decommissioning of aging nuclear reactors currently used for production. Various alternative ways of production are being explored. Each of those methods must be evaluated to ensure that the produced isotopes will be effective for medical use while minimizing the dose injected to the patient. I am studying all the nuclear reactions generating Tc associated with the accelerator based 100Mo(p,2n)99mTC production method.