Graduate Programs - USA
The Department of Chemistry of the University of Washington offers graduate studies in nuclear chemistry leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees.

One major thrust of current research programs in the nuclear chemistry group (Robert Vandenbosch, Ph.D., Univ. of California, Berkeley, 1957) is to characterize and understand the dynamics of collisions between complex nuclei. Such collisions, often called heavy-ion reactions, lead to a large variety of both preequilibrium and equilibrium processes. Measurements of the energy and angular distributions of the reaction products are used to characterize the reactions. Determination of the angular correlations between several reaction products in a single collision is a particularly illuminating technique for distinguishing between possible mechanisms. Other areas of interest are spectroscopic characterization of quasimolecular states (nuclear molecules) and nuclear fission studies.

The University of Washington is an ideal place for such studies because of the availability of the well-equipped Nuclear Physics Laboratory. This laboratory, staffed by the physics and chemistry departments, houses a Tandem Van de Graaff-superconducting booster capable of accelerating a large variety of light and heavy ions. A variety of scattering chambers, a magnetic spectrometer, and high-resolution and high-efficiency particle and gamma ray detectors are available.

Another research area involves the use of nuclear techniques to study environmental problems (William H. Zoller, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1969). This work involves research into several areas of the environmental, geological and atmospheric sciences, using neutron activation analysis and natural occurring radioisotopes. One of the areas of research will involve the use of 7Be, 210Pb, 210Po and 222Rn to measure the transport of continental and stratospheric air masses around the world.The areas of atmospheric chemistry that are of interest involve the collection and analysis by neutron activation analysis of atmospheric particulate material from remote areas of the atmosphere. The focus of this research is to understand the long range transport of particles throughout the atmosphere, and to study the biogeochemical cycles of the volatile elements Se, As, Sb, Mo, In, Ce, Zn, Cu, etc., found in abnormally high concentrations throughout the pristine atmosphere.

In addition, the sampling and analytical techniques developed for remote area research have been used to study the levels of toxic trace elements in different environments in which humans are exposed. During the last few years, a new thrust into the release of volatile metals by volcanos has been very successful. The elements Se, As, Sb, Cd, In, Sn, Te, and Pb have been observed to be highly enriched in many volcanic plumes. Observations at the Hawaiian volcanos have shown the presence of the nobel metals Ir, Os and Re in abnormally high concentrations which seem to be associated with mantle volcanism.

Much of neutron activation analysis has been conducted in cooperation with the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). A new gamma ray spectroscopy facility has been completed at the Chemistry Department.

A new cooperative research program between the Chemistry Department and the Medical School (Prof. Kenneth Krohn, Ph.D., Univ. of California, Davis,1971) involves positron emission tomography, an area of nuclear medicine. The Medical School has a cyclotron for the preparation of short lived isotopes (C-11, N-13, O-15, F-18) and a time-of-flight tomograph. Their research uses short-lived positron emitters to label biologically significant molecules to trace biochemical reactions inside living subjects. These techniques are applied to problems in cancer biology, myocardial physiology and brain biochemistry and involve techniques ranging from hot atom chemistry in cyclotron targets, to robots for radiochemical synthesis of organic molecules, to mathematical modeling of biochemical reaction kinetics.

Dr. Robert Vandenbosch
Chemistry Department, BG-10
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
PHONE: (206) 543-1090