Nuclear Engineering ETDs


James Cole

Publication Date

Fall 12-17-2016


The fission process has played a vital role in the world’s search for effective sources of alternative energy. With almost 80 years of work with fissionable material there is still much that is unknown about the process. Fission fragment mass and atomic number distributions are still lacking in completeness and critical detail. Knowledge of this information is highly sought after in the effort to improve various fields of nuclear physics and engineering such as reactor design, predictive models, waste disposal methods, and an overall understanding of the fission process. In an effort to better understand this process, we have developed and tested a fission fragment spectrometer in collaboration with the Spectrometer for Ion Detection in Fission Research project (SPIDER) at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The fission fragment spectrometer uses a time-of-flight (TOF) technique to measure the particle’s velocity and an ionization chamber to measure the particle’s kinetic energy. From these two values the particle’s mass can be determined. The UNM spectrometer has implemented an ionization chamber with an active cathode configuration that allows the ionization chamber to act as a time projection chamber. This full set-up allows for coincident measurements of the particle’s velocity and energy to obtain mass, and range to obtain atomic charge information. Several other techniques and experiments have been developed to measure fission fragment mass and atomic charge distributions, however they exhibit varying resolution and efficiency limitations. The goal of this project is to develop a high efficiency, low-resolution spectrometer to obtain an overall mass resolution of less than one atomic mass unit (amu) and to show that the atomic charge of the particle can be determined.


Nuclear Engineering, Fission, Ionization Chamber

Document Type




Degree Name

Nuclear Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Nuclear Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Hecht, Adam

Second Committee Member

Cooper, Gary

Third Committee Member

Oliveira, Cassiano