Los Alamos National Laboratory
Polymers and Coatings (MST-7)

Characterization and Forensics

The MST-7 Characterization and Forensics team performs fundamental and applied research in material synthesis, structural & thermal characterization, optical & EPR spectroscopy, and opto-electronic device integration to solve problems related to nuclear weapons systems, CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear) detection, aging of materials, and explosives chemistry and performance. Our team of scientists and technologists offers broad and multi-disciplinary expertise to solve problems for a variety of internal and external customers. The team is primarily funded through the weapons program, LDRD, DHS, and CRADAs.

We operate an extensive set of characterization tools to meet the diverse and evolving needs of our customers. This includes:

  • Two X-ray computed tomography instruments with 1.7 micrometer (Xradia Micro XCT) and 50 nm (Xradia Ultra XRM) spatial resolution and in-situ sample compression and tension. We provide full statistical analysis of 3D data, rapid prototyping of 3D images, and dimensional metrology to CAD drawings
  • Optical material characterization (from 6 – 500 K) such as photo-luminescence, thermo-luminescence, optically-stimulated luminescence, decay, vacuum FTIR, VIS and deep-UV Raman, UV-NIR absorption, reflection, refractive index and dispersion
  • Fiber-optic component and device analysis with high-resolution optical spectrum analyzer and broadband coherent sources
  • Structural characterization using EPR, x-ray diffraction, TEM, and SEM
  • Radiation response including radio-luminescence, photon yield, and energy resolution of scintillators
  • Thermal analysis such as DSC, TGA, and combined methods (TGA-MS)
  • Simulation tools include density functional methods (Gaussian), multivariate analysis, and thin-film optical coating design

The material synthesis efforts are focused on developing next-generation scintillator and phosphor materials, and respective expertise and capabilities include:

  • Synthesis of nano-structured glass ceramics by melt-quench and sol-gel methods
  • Oxide nanoparticles by Solution Combustion Synthesis (SC) and Solution Precipitation (SP) methods
  • Schlenk lines and gloveboxes for processing of hygroscopic halide materials
  • Class 100 clean room facility
  • Synthesis of ultra-pure metal fluorides in HF reactor for solid-state laser cooling devices

Markus Hehlen Team Leader

  • Bryan Bennett
  • Michael Blair
  • Nate Gustafson
  • Lakshmi Narayana Grandham
  • Kevin Henderson
  • Alison Mercer-Smith
  • Brian Patterson
  • Nick Smith
  • Joseph Torres
  • Eric Weis
Scintillator Material

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