Applications of x-rays to chemical
and structural analysis have been a focus of the Section's research activities.
Efforts in environmental and machinery condition monitoring using x-rays
have led to advances in miniaturized remotely operable monitoring systems
and concepts. Structural dynamics are monitored by diffraction carried
out at the National Synchrotron Light Source or at major laser plasma
x-ray sources, over time scales from picoseconds to hours. The Section
also has a collaborative thrust in the fielding of distributed autonomous
sensor systems by unmanned vehicles.
The section also has broad interests
in the development of advanced radiation detection devices and systems
and the application of these to the characterization of environmental
radiation, nuclear wastes, treaty verification and non-proliferation issues,
nuclear radiation monitoring and other problems in radiation detection.
The section has extensive field experience in conducting both on-site
measurements and in environmental sampling for later laboratory analysis.
The section has developed a transportable
gamma-ray analysis facility and a mobile chemical laboratory which are
being used on-site for an environmental assessment and characterization
of hazardous waste sites at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. The transportable
gamma-ray analysis facility was used previously for on-site analysis of
radionuclide contamination from nuclear weapons production facilities
in Siberia as part of the ONR ANWAP program for investigating Soviet nuclear
waste releases into the Arctic environment. An underwater
gamma-ray monitor was developed as part of this program for monitoring
environmental releases in the Arctic seas. Additionally, the section
has the capability for acquiring environmental samples and performing
low-level gamma-ray analysis in our laboratory at NRL.