Mid-year research review

In a post in January, I listed my research aims for 2011. Well, it’s a bit more than half way through the calendar year, and it seems as good a time as any to review progress. In saying that, it should also be noted that I didn’t get much if any research done in the first 3 months of the year, due to teaching and administrative duties.

One of my aims for 2011 was to get the work on concentration-dependent solution energies written up and published, this having proved really difficult last year when I had a series of rejections from the Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter. I took the view that the papers had to be entirely re-written, and submitted elsewhere, where the work would be better appreciated! I’m pleased to say that I am making some progress in doing this. The first paper, which introduces the technique, has been submitted to Optical Materials, and although it’s been under review for more than 3 months, I still haven’t heard anything. But at least it’s not been rejected yet! I had better luck with the second paper, which deals with reduction and subsequent doping of rare earth ions into barium aluminate, which was submitted to the Journal of Solid State Chemistry, and accepted. It has recently been published online and can be found here. That leaves 3 more papers, which I am working my way through, but the aim is to have them all submitted by the start of the new academic year.

Working on these papers has taken most of my available research time, but my two PhD students are also busily working on optical materials and nuclear fuels respectively, and are getting interesting results in both areas. On optical materials, we are looking at the surface segregation of the dopants that control optical properties, as the location of these dopants in the materials is important from the point of view of device design. On nuclear fuels, we are looking at UO2, PuO2 and CeO2, and the mixed oxide (MOX) UO2-PuO2 that is an important fuel in fast breeder reactors. Getting detailed information on the properties of these materials is important for their continuing use in the nuclear industry,

At the beginning of the year I didn’t have any conferences planned, but I was subsequently invited to attend SSI-18 (see last post). Later in the summer, I’ll be attending MMSNF 2011, which stands for ‘Materials Modeling and Simulation for Nuclear Fuels’, in Aix-en-Provence, perfectly timed for the start of the new semester!

So, this was a brief summary of where I am. Research time in the summer is precious, and I’ll hope to make the most use of what remains. I’ll report progress on the submission and acceptance of the papers mentioned above in a later post.

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2 thoughts on “Mid-year research review”

  1. Hi Sarah

    That’s still ongoing. I’ve done initial calculations that predict where the thorium is incorporated in the lattice, and now other members of the project teams (in the US and Austria) are doing the crystal growing. I will get involved again once samples are available, and characterisation starts. So it’s very much ‘work in progress’.

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