FIGURE FEL 4 Patrick O’Malley uses the ORNL accelerator and the ORRUBA array of position-sensitive silicon strip detectors to study nuclear reactions that help us understand how the elements are synthesized in stars. SOURCE: Patrick O’Malley.

land security. The research of fellow Patrick O’Malley from Rutgers University is focused on nuclear reaction studies and in particular on the question of how the stable isotope fluorine-19 is synthesized in stars when nitrogen-15 interacts with alpha particles (Figure FEL 4). Patrick measured the reaction in which nitrogen-15 interacts with deuterium, emitting a proton and thereby transferring a neutron to form nitrogen-16. He hopes to understand the destruction of nitrogen-15 from interactions with neutrons in stars. Much of his research involves the charged-particle detectors of the ORNL-Rutgers University Barrel Array (ORRUBA). He is also part of the team developing the Versatile Array of Neutron Detectors at Low Energy. Patrick spent a summer at LLNL helping to develop the neutron time projection chamber, which can be applied to locate sources of special nuclear materials that emit neutrons.

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