Design and Development of High Spatial Resolution Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Systems

Craig Levin
Professor of Radiology, and, by Courtesy, of Physics, Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering, Stanford University
FRI, 02/5/2021 - 3:00PM TO 4:00PM
Spring 2021 Colloquium Series
Abstract:PET imaging employs positron-emitting radionuclides to visualize and quantify the biology and chemistry of disease in living subjects.  There has been great interest to enhance the spatial resolution of PET imaging to be able to detect subtle signatures of disease, which can enable earlier disease detection and more sensitive monitoring of therapeutic strategies. PET imaging relies on detection and positioning of 511 keV annihilation photon pairs emitted from the imaging subject. In this talk we will describe technologies and techniques that are employed to achieve sub-millimeter spatial resolution.
About the Speaker:

Dr. Craig Levin is a Professor in the Department of Radiology with courtesy appointments in the Departments of Physics, Electrical Engineering, and Bioengineering at Stanford University. He is a founding Member of the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford (MIPS), and faculty member of the Stanford’s Bio-X Program, Cancer Institute, Cardiovascular Institute, and Neurosciences Institute. He is director and PI of the NIH-NCI funded Stanford Molecular Imaging Scholars (SMIS) post-doctoral training program, and Co-Director of the Stanford Center for Innovation in In Vivo Imaging (SCI^3). Dr. Levin’s also directs a 25-member research laboratory whose research interests are to explore new concepts in imaging instrumentation and computational algorithms for advancing our ability to visualize and quantify molecular and cellular pathways of disease in living subjects. To support this work he has received numerous grants from NIH, DOE, DOD, NSF, industrial sponsorship from companies such as GE, Siemens, and Philips, as well as research awards from numerous non-profit foundations.  Dr. Levin has over 170 peer-reviewed publications and 26 awarded patents.

Chemical and Electrochemical Studies in Molten Fluoride Salts

Chemical and Electrochemical Studies in Molten Fluoride Salts


Raluca O. Scarlat

Nuclear Engineering Department, UC Berkeley

Molten fluoride salts are ionic liquids that are employed in nuclear reactors as coolant or nuclear fuel solvents. 2LiF-BeF2 (FLiBe) is an ionic liquid that is of particular interest for application in nuclear reactors due to its neutronic properties. While the fluoride salts are ionic liquids, the beryllium constituent is known to form partly covalent associates with the fluorine, leading for formation of complex ions in the ionic melt. The implications of this complexation on the chemical and thermophysical properties of the salt are only partly understood. This talk will provide examples of unexpected observations in molten fluoride salts relevant to nuclear applications, including reactions of FLiBe with hydrogen.


Raluca Scarlat is an assistant professor at UC Berkeley, in the Department of Nuclear Engineering. Professor Scarlat has a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from UC Berkeley and a B.S. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from Cornell University. Raluca Scarlat’s research focuses on chemistry, electrochemistry and physical chemistry of high-temperature inorganic fluids and their application to energy systems. She has experience in design and  safety analysis of fluoride-salt-cooled high-temperature reactors (FHRs) and Molten Salt Reactors (MSRs), and high-temperature gas cooled reactors (HTGRs). Her research includes safety analysis and design of nuclear reactors and engineering ethics.

The Essential Role of Universities in Advanced Reactor Deployment

Dr. Kathryn D. Huff is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Many University TRTRs were shut down in the 1980s & 1990s as student enrollments waned. In the 2000s, student enrollment in nuclear engineering and enthusiasm for carbon-free nuclear energy has rebounded mightily, but no new university TRTRs have been built in nearly 30 years. Simultaneous with this widening gap in hands-on training, unprecedented federal funding to demonstrate and commercialize advanced reactors has been distributed to companies promising a bright future for advanced nuclear energy. But, in this future, who will objectively test these reactors, train their operators, educate their reactor engineers, and improve the technology through innovative experiments?
In this talk, I'll suggest that universities remain poised to play many of these roles in the future of next-generation nuclear reactor deployment and university campuses are uniquely suited for early deployments. We at UIUC envision a next-generation university test, research, and training reactor that could underpin advanced reactor commercialization toward national leadership in a clean, sustainable energy future. Our vision for the deployment of a next-generation university TRTR aims to amplify the profound expertise at campuses in research, education, and power production to address the urgent need for advanced reactor prototype testing as well as next-generation research toward integration with carbon-free energy technologies. I will describe a vision of the future in which universities and their research can and must play a significant role in prototype testing next-generation reactors, support commercial licensing and deployment, conduct operations research, drive innovations in associated technologies, and train a next-generation workforce to operate and maintain these next-generation devices.
About the Speaker:

Dr. Kathryn D. Huff is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she leads the Advanced Reactors and Fuel Cycles Research Group.  She is additionally a Blue Waters Assistant Professor with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. She was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow in both the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium and the Berkeley Institute for Data Science at the University of California - Berkeley. She received her PhD in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013 and her undergraduate degree in Physics from the University of Chicago.  Her current research focuses on modeling and simulation of advanced nuclear reactors and fuel cycles. She is an active member of the American Nuclear Society, vice-chair of the Nuclear Nonproliferation and Policy Division, a past chair of the Fuel Cycle and Waste Management Division, and recipient of both the Young Member Excellence and Mary Jane Oestmann Professional Women's Achievement awards. Through leadership within Software Carpentry, SciPy, the Hacker Within, and the Journal of Open Source Software she also advocates for best practices in open, reproducible scientific computing.