Thanks to a steady influx of grant funding in recent years, Washington State University’s Nuclear Science Center has acquired a raft of state-of-the-art equipment significantly expanding research capabilities.
Liane Moreau, an assistant professor of chemistry and research scientist at WSU, said these kinds of instruments are few and far between, noting the closest SAXS is in Berkeley, Calif., so having access to them in one facility is a major advantage to researchers.
“Let’s say we generated a material using the nuclear reactor, we could then directly look at that in our instrumentation here, so it allows us to have capabilities that we don’t have anywhere else,” Moreau said of the SAXS. “To our knowledge there isn’t another instrument in the world that actually exists in the same facility as a nuclear reactor.”
Moreau said there are also major challenges to shipping and transporting radioactive material, and having access to these machines on one site in many cases eliminates the need to move the material from place to place.