What is your thesis topic?
My dissertation is titled “Investigation of Environmental Degradation in Plastic Scintillators” and focuses on “fogging,” a phenomenon where plastic scintillators will absorb moisture at high temperatures and humidities and become opaque upon cooling.
How is materials processing involved in your research?
My research focuses on producing and characterizing scintillation materials for national security applications. For producing novel scintillators, we use the Bridgman technique of single crystal growth. It is important to control the ampoule geometry, furnace parameters, and growth speed in order to produce a high quality, single crystal. Additionally, I have worked with aging of plastic scintillators. Although we do not produce them here, we have corresponded closely with an industry partner, Eljen Technology.
Provide an example of where the material/process/properties you are studying might find an application.
My research is very specific and is being pursued due to its implications in national security. Because fogging requires that plastic scintillators deployed in certain environments be replaced, it is important that we understand and can prevent fogging in the next generation of plastic scintillators.