Microfluidics Separations for Field-Deployable Nuclear Forensics

Jennifer Shusterman

Jennifer Shusterman

Staff Scientist, LLNL

MON, 11/13/2023 - 3:00PM TO 4:00PM


The Nuclear and Radiochemistry group at LLNL works on a wide variety of projects ranging from nuclear forensics to stockpile stewardship to fundamental studies in super heavy element production and chemistry. An overview of some of the work in the NRC group will be provided as well as a deeper dive on a current R&D effort aimed at developing potentially fieldable radiochemistry and analysis equipment to support post-detonation nuclear forensics. To expedite analysis of post-detonation nuclear debris, a microfluidic chemistry and small-scale detection platform has been developed. Towards future field-deployable application, the footprint of the platform and volume of reagents have been minimized, and the system and its components selected to operate in ambient conditions. Supported liquid membrane microfluidic devices have been designed and 3D-printed for separation of uranium and plutonium from fission products, debris matrix elements, actinides, and activation products. Uranium and plutonium quantification are done using online UV-Visible spectrophotometry and gamma spectrometry, and online alpha spectrometry, respectively. Thus far, the platform has been used to separate and characterize uranium and plutonium ratios from various surrogate debris matrices containing actinides and fission products.

LLNL-ABS-856340. This work was performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344. This work was funded by the Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development within the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.


Jennifer Shusterman is a radiochemist in the Nuclear and Radiochemistry Group at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Previously, she was a Postdoctoral Researcher in the same group at LLNL and an
Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Hunter College of the City University of New York (CUNY) and the CUNY Graduate Center. She has a B.S. in Chemistry and Engineering Science from Tufts University and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.