Faculty Research

Faculty Research

Faculty Research

Dr. Sally Hicks

hicks research

The focus of my research for the last several years has been the investigation of neutron scattering from materials that are important for fission reactor applications.   This work is done in collaboration with scientists from the University of Dallas, the United States Naval Academy, the University of Kentucky, and Idaho National Laboratory. The work is supported primarily by grants from the Department of Energy NEUP Program. This research concentrates on measurements of neutron elastic and inelastic scattering differential cross sections from the structural materials 54,56Fe and on 23Na which is a coolant in future generation fast reactors.   University of Dallas physics majors have been heavily involved in the measurements.  

All measurements for this project have been completed at the University of Kentucky Low-Energy Accelerator Facilities.  There pulsed bunches of protons are accelerated using the 7 MV Model CN Van de Graaff  shown at the left.  These proton pulses produce neutrons for scattering via the T(p,n) reaction.   

Dr. Richard Olenick

olenick research

My research, which was initially funded by the Nancy Cain Marcus and Jeffrey A. Marcus Chair in Science, involves photometric studies of cataclysmic variable stars (CVs). CVs are a class of short period semi-detached binaries that consist of an accreting white dwarf primary and often a low mass main sequence secondary star. The orbital periods of CVs typically range from approximately 0.06 day to 0.6 day, which makes them ideal for observations. Accretion takes place when the secondary star fills its Roche lobe and matter is transferred through the L1 Lagrange point. Two structures in non-magnetic CVs are of interest in our research: (1) the accretion disks, where half of the gravitational potential energy of the accreting material is released, and (2) the boundary layer between the accretion disk and the surface of the white dwarf, where the kinetic energy of the flow is thermalized and radiated. Temperatures of the accretion disk range from 5000 K at its outer edge to over 10000 K at its inner edge and the disk radiates over a broad energy range from the optical through the far ultraviolet.