Berkeley Lab

About Us

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Applied Nuclear Physics is a research program consisting of nearly 50 scientists, engineers, and postdocs at LBNL and faculty, postdocs, and students from UC Berkeley.

Our Applied Nuclear Physics program aims at developing concepts and technologies to address outstanding questions in basic and applied research as well as national security and health.

Whether studying the limits of nuclear existence, searching for yet-to be discovered neutrino interaction processes and neutrino properties, looking for some of the most explosive events in our universe or enabling new ways to “see” nuclear radiation around us or in us, we are building the necessary concepts and sensors to enable it.  Our sensors or radiation detectors can be carried around, mounted on manned or unmanned helicopters, on balloons, or mounted on cars or trucks to meet the specific needs across the large range of applications.

As an example, we develop gamma-ray detection and imaging systems to increase the detection and localization of weak radiological signatures in complex and dominating backgrounds. A recent highlight are measurements performed in the evacuated area close to the Dai-ichi Nuclear Plant in Fukushima, Japan. We deployed our High-Efficiency Multimode Imager HEMI on an unmanned helicopter to demonstrate a more effective mapping of remaining contamination by cesium isotopes such as Cs-137 and Cs-134.

In general, enhance detection and imaging capabilities by advancing detector systems, signal processing schemes, and by combining radiological or nuclear signatures with complementary information and signatures. Complementary information can be contextual information of the scene under study, meteorological data, materials, etc. Multi-sensor and multi-dimensional data fusion is a field of wide interest as it promises to significantly enhances the sensitivity to detect weak signatures, to differentiate them from un-wanted information such as background or noise, and to provide the context important for the interpretation of information and operation.

Our program consists of scientists and engineers, faculty, postdoctoral fellows as well as students from LBNL and UC Berkeley, particularly from the Department of Nuclear Engineering but also from the Physics and Electrical Engineering and Computing Sciences Departments. It is embedded in the Nuclear Science Division at LBNL and works closely with other scientists across LBNL, specifically from the recently established Institute for Resilient Communities. We also collaborate with other Laboratories such as the Space Sciences Laboratory in Berkeley and several other National Laboratories.

Quick Facts

Applied Nuclear Physics Program….

  • …is a research program consisting of nearly 50 scientists, engineers, and postdocs at LBNL and faculty, postdocs, and students from UC Berkeley;
  • …develops new concepts in radiation detection with wide range of applications in fundamental sciences, medicine, and national security;
  • …consists of 4 teams including the Semiconductor Detector Laboratory;
  • …maintains close relationship with the Institute for Resilience Communities, which strives to enhance technological and societal resilience by combining science, engineering, education, and communities;
  • …is a trusted scientific resource providing advice and answers to questions related to radiological issues (e.g. Radwatch and DoseNet).

Interactive Laboratory Map


Applied Nuclear Physics on the map. ››