Research Areas

Separations and Analysis

This research area supports fundamental research covering a broad spectrum of separation concepts, including membrane processes, extraction under both standard and supercritical conditions, adsorption, chromatography, photodissociation, and complexation. Also supported is work to improve the sensitivity, reliability, and productivity of analytical determinations and to develop new approaches to analysis in complex, heterogeneous environments, including techniques that combine chemical selectivity and spatial resolution to achieve chemical imaging. This research area is the nation’s most significant long-term investment in the fundamental science underpinning actinide separations and mass spectrometry. The overall goal is to obtain a thorough understanding, at molecular and nanoscale dimensions, of the basic chemical and physical principles involved in separations systems and analytical tools so that their full utility can be realized. Capital equipment funding is provided for items such as lasers for use in sample ionization and chemical imaging, advanced mass spectrometers with nanoprobes, confocal microscopes for sub-diffraction limit resolution, and computational resources.

Work is closely coupled to DOE’s stewardship responsibility for transuranic chemistry; therefore, separation and analysis of transuranic isotopes and their radioactive decay products are important components of the portfolio. Knowledge of molecular-level processes is required to characterize and treat extremely complex radioactive mixtures in, for example, new nuclear fuel systems, and to understand and predict the fate of radioactive contaminants in the environment. Separations are essential to nearly all operations in processing industries and are also necessary for many analytical procedures.

To obtain more information about this research area, please see our Core Research Area descriptions and the proceedings of our Principal Investigators' Meetings. To better understand how this research area fits within the Department of Energy's Office of Science, please refer to the Basic Energy Science's organization chart.pdf file (46KB) and budget request.

For more information about this research area, please contact Dr. Larry Rahn.

Last modified: 7/15/2013 8:35:44 AM