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Our Research into Nuclear Forensics

Nuclear Forensics is an interdisciplinary field of research involving the analysis of nuclear materials recovered from either the capture of unused materials or from the radioactive debris following a nuclear explosion. Our research involves the training of a new and diverse generation of scientists in state-of-the-art techniques in chemical and isotopic measurements and the development of new technologies and improves instrumental methods for precise and accurate analyses of smaller and smaller quantities of nuclear materials appropriate to enable identification of a culpable source, and apply to other problems in earth science.

We have recently reported on our analyses of trinitite, fused silica-glass from the Trinity test event. This glass, which is compose natural materials present in the test site and fragments from the bomb and platform, presents nuclear forensic investigators with ideal post-detonation material where the composition of the nuclear device and source material are well-known, enabling validation of testing methods designed to determine a device’s original makeup. We reported chemical and isotopic data on trinitite and compare our results with Trinity’s known characteristics.