What is your thesis topic?
My dissertation is focused on evaluating the electrical properties of uranium dioxide as a candidate material for solid-state direct-conversion neutron detectors. Dopant materials have been studied in ion-implanted single crystal samples that have been subjected to neutron irradiation. Cerium dioxide has also been used as a non-radioactive surrogate to safely study material processing methods of improving electrical properties.
How is materials processing involved in your research?
Uranium dioxide does not inherently meet the electrical properties necessary to effectively function as a semiconducting material in a solid-state neutron detector. Materials processing methods to incorporate dopant materials are critical to this research. Carefully selected dopant materials can directly impact the microstructure and electrical properties.
Provide an example of where the material/process/properties you are studying might find an application.
While there are several challenges beyond optimizing the electrical properties of uranium dioxide that must also be addressed, a solid-state neutron detector based on this material could offer the potential for the development of devices with incredibly high detection efficiencies.