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DOE Awards Pitt $1.28M for Nuclear Research

Photonics.com
Jul 2017
PITTSBURGH, July 28, 2017 — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering will receive $1.28 million for collaborative research that includes the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Reactor Laboratory, Westinghouse Electric Corp. and the National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Pitt's Dr. Kevin Chen in his lab where he is developing new sensor technology that can tolerate the harsh environment of a nuclear reactor while providing more data to improve safety.
Pitt's Kevin Chen in his lab where he is developing new sensor technology that can tolerate the harsh environment of a nuclear reactor while providing more data to improve safety. Courtesy of the Swanson School of Engineering/Ric Evans.

The award is part of $66 million awarded by DOE to advance innovative nuclear technologies. Kevin Chen, the Paul E. Lego Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Pitt, will lead the collaborative study to develop radiation-hard, multi-functional, distributed fiber sensors and sensor-fused components that can be placed in a nuclear reactor core to improve safety and efficiency. The grant is from the Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies (NEET) program, part of the DOE's Nuclear Energy University Program.

"This NEET grant will allow our lab to continue its partnerships with leading technological companies and national laboratories to develop solutions to some of the most pressing issues affecting nuclear energy production," Chen said. "Advances in sensor technology can greatly enhance the sensitivity and resolution of data in harsh environments like a nuclear reaction, thereby improving safety operations."

The research will focus on the fabrication of the optic sensors using additive manufacturing and advanced laser fabrication techniques. The group will develop both high-temperature stable point sensors and distributed fiber sensors for high-spatial-resolution measurements in radiation-hardened silica and sapphire fibers.

BusinessUniversity of PittsburghSwanson School of Engineeringnuclear energyDepartment of EnergyawardsfundingAmericaseducation

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