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Please visit this site's homepage for an important message about nuclear engineering options at the University of Maryland College Park.

In addition to our training reactor, we also offer the following facilities and equipment:

Laboratory for Radiation and Polymer Science

The Laboratory for Radiation and Polymer Science, directed by Professor Mohamad Al-Sheikhly, has pursued the chemistry and materials of the radiation processing industry since 1960. The Laboratory supports companies and government laboratories with radiation-related research and consulting services in three areas:

  • Applied radiation and physics of polymers: crosslinking scission, polymerization, and effects on reinforced and filled polymers. These include the development ofproducts for ordinary commercial use (packaging materials, elastomers, membranes, textiles, etc.); and the degradation of insulating materials in space satellites and nuclear reactors;
  • Radiation sources technology, such as transport of high energy electrons in complex targets, dosimetry, and optimization studies; and
  • Fundamental aspects of radiation bearing on applied problems, such as radiation chemistry of crystalline alkane and semicrystalline polymers, initiation mechanisms of vinyl polymerization, and radiation effects on morphology and metrology of polymers.

University of Maryland Radiation Facilities: High-Energy Linear Accelerator (LINAC)

LINAC electron gunThe Radiation Facilities at the University of Maryland, directed by Professor Mohamad Al-Sheikhly, have recently installed a brand new, state-of-the-art high-energy linear accelerator (LINAC).  The TB-10/15 LINAC (L3 Communications, San Leandro, CA) generates a 10 MeV electron beam with an average beam power of 15 kW and compliments the existing medium-energy LINAC. The high-energy beam provides an opportunity for research and industrial applications which lower energy LINACs are incapable of accomplishing, including medical sterilization. This is possible due to the unique ability of high-energy electrons to be converted to photons with a relatively high efficiency. In addition to its high energy electron beam, the L3 LINAC is also equipped with a scanning magnet and horn assembly which sweeps a beam of electrons over a 60 cm surface in either a horizontal or vertical orientation, depending on the specific application. This feature provides the University of Maryland with an ideal setup for pilot-scale studies of radiation processing.  (Above left: The LINAC's electron gun.)

Research and industrial applications of the high-energy LINAC include:

  • Polymer modification
  • Sterilization of medical devices
  • Radiation treatment of food products

L3 High-Energy Linear Accelerator System Specifications

Beam Energy

10 MeV + 0.2%

Beam Average Power

15 kW

Beam Orientation


Scan Height

24 in.

Pulse Width

18.35 ms

Pulse Repetition Rate

345 pps

Biophysical and Polymer Radiation Laboratory

Biophysical and Polymer Radiation LaboratoryThe Biophysical and Polymer Radiation Laboratory, directed by Professor Mohamad Al-Sheikhly, is located in the Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Building and is utilized in conjunction with the University of Maryland Radiation Facilities. The laboratory has two distinct experimental facilities devoted to polymer modification research and radiation biophysics. The laboratory facilities allow for the study of the effect of radiation on a wide range of polymers. The crosslinking, degradation, and synthesis of polymers with the use of gamma-ray and electron beam radiation is investigated for applications such as medical implants, fuel cells, biochips, adhesives and waste water treatment. Techniques such as Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) Spectroscopy, Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) provide a measure of a number of important materials properties. In addition polymer microtomy can be used to prepare materials for thin films analysis, Soxhlet extraction provides a measure of crosslink fraction, and an optical pulse radiolysis set-up allows reaction kinetics measurements in liquid solutions. The radiation biophysics area is equipped with state-of-the-art cell culture instruments which allow investigation into the effects of varying LET radiation on biological systems, as well as targeted drug delivery systems for the treatment of cancer.



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