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NERS Colloquium: Anna Barnett, University of Sussex, UK

Space: The Ultimate Nuclear Measurements Laboratory

flyer of NERS Colloquium: Anna Barnett flyer of NERS Colloquium: Anna Barnett
TITLE: Space: The Ultimate Nuclear Measurements Laboratory

ABSTRACT: Whether it be for understanding distant astrophysical phenomena or measuring the elemental composition of planetary surfaces, radiation detection is critical for the advancement of space science. However, much traditional instrumentation is either too great in mass, temperature sensitive, or prone to degradation for it to be used efficiently in space for such purposes. Researchers working in the Space Research Group at University of Sussex (a research intensive university nestled in rolling hills of England’s South Downs National Park) are developing novel materials and instrumentation which can withstand the extreme environments of space, and potentially provide answers to many of the most pressing questions in space science today, such as how did the solar system form, and where can life arise in planetary systems. Along the way, they are also applying space research to terrestrial challenges such as ocean mining, detection of nuclear materials, monitoring of tribological wear in oil lubricated machinery, and the development of radioisotope microbatteries. This talk will introduce the importance of radiation detection in space science and detail the current state of the art in semiconductor radiation detection materials (particularly III-Vs) at Britain’s leading academic institute for novel radiation measurement instrumentation.

BIO: Anna M. Barnett is Professor of Space Research and Director of the Space Research Group in the School of Engineering and Informatics at University of Sussex, UK. She is an experimental physicist with interests in detector physics and instrumentation for space science and extreme terrestrial environments (high temperature, intense radiation). Her research portfolio covers: space systems; attitude determination systems and GPS-denied environment navigation instrumentation; instrumentation for underwater vehicles for ocean mining; fundamental compound semiconductor material and device research, with particular emphasis on radiation interactions and single photon noise processes; instrumentation for space plasma physics, X-ray astronomy, and planetary science; radioisotope microbatteries; liquid contamination monitoring systems; radiological and nuclear material interdiction systems; and more. As of November 2018, Prof. Barnett holds personal research funding totaling ~$3M in value. She is particularly well known for her expertise in the characterization of novel semiconductor materials (e.g. GaAs, AlGaAs, AlInP, GaInP, cubic-GaN, SiC, Diamond) for photon counting spectroscopy of X-rays and gamma-rays, and particle counting spectroscopy of electrons and beta particles. Upon promotion to her current position as Professor of Space Research at 33 years of age in February 2018, Prof. Barnett became the youngest person to have ever held a Professorial Chair at University of Sussex. In 2016, Prof. Barnett won the prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize in Engineering. She was also awarded the 2016 University of Sussex Emerging Researcher award for her contributions towards “Improved spacecraft guidance, navigation, and control through the understanding of light". Prof. Barnett obtained her PhD (without corrections) in 2012 at University of Leicester's world-renowned Space Research Centre (part of Dept. Physics and Astronomy) where she was awarded the College of Science and Engineering 2012 PhD prize for "Exceptional Merit in the Conduct and Outcome of Research" and was also invited to give a Graduate School Doctoral Prize Inaugural Lecture in 2013. As well as being highly active in research, Prof. Barnett is actively commercializing many of the technologies underpinned by her work, and she enjoys collaborating and consulting for numerous commercial organizations in the UK and overseas.
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When and Where

Map Cooley Building - White Auditorium

December 2018

4:00pm - 5:00pm

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