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Investigating Metal-Organic Frameworks as Clean-Up Agents for Nuclear Waste

Sanjit Ghose

Sanjit Ghose, center, co-authored two papers that describe metal-organic frameworks capable of adsorbing xenon and krypton.

One of the most versatile and widely applicable classes of material being studied today are metal-organic frameworks, or MOFs, and the studies are showing promising uses. MOFs are characterized by metal ions or metal-ion clusters that are linked together with organic molecules forming ordered crystal structures that contain tiny cage-like pores with diameters of two nanometers or less.

MOFs can be thought of as highly specialized and customizable sieves. By designing them with pores of a certain size, shape, and chemical composition, researchers can tailor them for specific purposes.
A few of the many, many possible applications for MOFs are storing hydrogen in fuel cells, capturing environmental contaminants, or temporarily housing catalytic agents for chemical reactions.

At Brookhaven Lab researchers have been studying MOFs designed for use in the separation of waste from nuclear reactors, which results from the reprocessing of nuclear fuel rods. Two waste products in particular have been targeted: the noble gases xenon (Xe) and krypton (Kr).

There are compelling reasons to separate Xe and Kr from the nuclear waste stream. For one, because they have very different half-lives – about 36 days for Xe and nearly 11 years for Kr – pulling out the Xe greatly reduces the amount of waste that needs to be stored long-term before it is safe to handle. Additionally, the extracted Xe can be used for industrial applications such as in commercial lighting and as an anesthetic. This research may also help scientists determine how to create MOFs that can remove other materials from the nuclear waste stream and expose the remaining unreacted nuclear fuel for further reuse. This could lead to much less overall waste that must be stored long-term and a more efficient system for producing nuclear energy, the source of about 20 percent of the electricity in the U.S.

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2015-5944  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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Brookhaven Projects Selected as R&D 100 Award Finalists

R&D 100 logo

Since 1987, Brookhaven Lab has won more than 30 of the prestigious R&D 100 awards that celebrate the top 100 proven technological advances of the year as judged by R&D Magazine. These technologies include innovative new materials, chemistry breakthroughs, biomedical products, consumer items, testing equipment, and high-energy physics.

Recently, four Brookhaven projects were selected as finalists for the 2015 R&D 100 awards by a panel selected by R&D Magazine. The finalists are: The eValuator-3500: an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) used in medical imaging, CZT-ElectrodePlus: a novel non-metallic electrode contact for use in the fabrication of radiation detectors, aSFCL: Active Superconducting Fault Current Limited for Electric Grid, and Binary Pseudo-Random Calibration Tool: a test surface for determining imaging and profiling instrument modulation transfer functions.

“The Office of Technology Commercialization & Partnerships is excited to have four finalists for the R&D 100 award,” said Connie Cleary. “Our office’s mission is to promote the transfer of Brookhaven Lab’s technologies into the marketplace to benefit society. Being a finalist for the award serves as recognition that Brookhaven research has resulted in a technologically significant product for the year.”

The winners will be announced at the R&D 100 Awards & Technology Conference in November.

To learn more about each finalist visit:

2015-5945  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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ATLAS and CMS Experiment Shed Light on Higgs Properties

Results of the analyses

Results of the analyses by individual experiments (coloured) and both experiments together (black), showing the improvement in precision resulting from the combination of results.

Three years after the announcement of the discovery of a new particle — the so-called Higgs boson — the ATLAS and CMS Collaborations presented for the first time combined measurements of many of its properties at the third annual Large Hadron Collider Physics Conference. By combining their analyses of the data collected in 2011 and 2012, ATLAS and CMS drew the sharpest picture yet of this novel boson. The new results provide in particular the best precision on its production and decay and on how it interacts with other particles.  All of the measured properties are in agreement with the predictions of the Standard Model and will become the reference for new analyses in the coming months, enabling the search for new physics phenomena. This follows the best measurement of the mass of the Higgs boson, published in May 2015 after a combined analysis by the two collaborations. 

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2015-5946  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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PubSci - Brewology, Port Jefferson

PubSci logo

Mark your calendars! The next BNL PubSci science café will take place at on October 6 at Brewology, 201 Main Street, Port Jefferson, at 7 p.m. Come, join the discussion on The Dark Universe – Exploring the mysterious invisible forces rippling through the cosmos.

2015-5949  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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  • October 7 – BSA Distinguished Lecture “Universe or Multiverse?” Presented by Andre Linde, Stanford University. Berkner Hall Auditorium. 4 p.m.
  • October 8 – Community Advisory Council meeting, 6:30 p.m., Berkner Hall, Room B.

*The events above are free and open to the public. Visitors 16 and older must bring a photo ID for access to BNL events.

2015-5947  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office