NUCLEAR ENGINEERING & TECHNIQUES (NET)
Coordinator: Dr. Maria Isabel Dias
Earth Systems, Radioactivity and Cultural Heritage
MISSION and OBJECTIVES
The Nuclear Engineering and Techniques (NET) group gathered expertise in nuclear physics and engineering and nuclear analytical techniques (NAT) applied to various scientific domains, especially by using the Portuguese Research Reactor (RPI). Advanced materials, geo/bio-environmental and cultural heritage samples are studied by using neutrons, radioactive nuclei and ion beams as probes. Rare earth elements inventory, characterization and extraction from secondary sources with integrated processes are being developed. The observation of radioactive nuclei interactions with matter provide unique information regarding the structural, electronic, magnetic and dynamical properties of their atomic environment, all at the low concentrations compatible with the relevant doping levels in the nano-world. Neutron transport simulation via the Monte Carlo method is also employed in various applications, namely reactor criticality evaluation, reactor dosimetry, characterization of environmental radiation, optimization of experimental set-ups and detector response modelling.
Neutron Activation Analysis, Alpha Spectroscopy and various ion-beam based techniques (Rutherford Backscattering, Elastic Recoil Detection, Nuclear Reaction Analysis and Resonant Elastic Scattering), Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE), complemented with other techniques like X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Mössbauer spectroscopy are specialized techniques available within C2TN that are employed by the NET group towards the materials characterizations. All of these converging for the in deep analysis of advanced materials, cultural heritage, geo/bio-environmental studies and georresources appraisal. The RPI and the accelerators are the main facilities currently used by NET group at CTN, together with Emission Channelling (EC) and Perturbed Angular Correlations (PAC) equipment based at CERN. Here Portuguese and international partnerships occur particularly focused on material science studies using radiosiotopes produced at the ISOLDE facility.
Outermost importance is done for upcoming experimental reactions in major international laboratories such as GSI, GANIL, RIKEN and BNC, aiming a deep understanding of nuclear interaction, together with PIXE and PGAA for materials characterization and fundamental research on atomics physics.