I joined the Atomistic Simulation Group at Imperial College London in November 2011 as a part time PhD student. The focus of my research is to investigate the use of radiological source material impurities in the evaluation of their irradiation and processing histories.
Limited work has been performed in this area to date, due to the high radiological hazards associated with such materials, and the vast number of different source types that are available commercially. My project therefore aims to:
- Identify the key isotopic and elemental signatures in different radiological source materials that may be useful in establishing its processing history.
- Evaluate the effects of neutron flux and energy, together with impurity type and concentration, on signature development in irradiated materials.
- Develop the methodology to interpret the radiochemical and isotopic signatures of irradiated target materials of unknown provenance.
- The body of my work will focus on the production of cobalt-60 and iridium-192 sources. Both materials are generated through the thermal irradiation of stable elemental targets, and so are not available carrier free. This negates the need for post production processing, and as a result means that irradiation signatures remain embedded in the source materials produced. By modelling elemental and isotopic impurity in-growth during manufacture, and then validating the methodology and code generated. I hope to utilise these sources to develop an integrated strategy for the assessment and interpretation of signatures from anthropogenic materials of unknown origin.