Ricardo Lopez portrait

Imaging of gamma rays and fast neutrons using a dual-particle imaging system

NERS Ph.D. student Ricardo Lopez’s research using the dual-particle imaging system developed at U-M to help in localizing the source of emission of majority of radioactive materials.


Ricardo Lopez portrait

Ricardo Lopez, currently a Ph.D. student in the U-M Department of Nuclear Engineering & Radiological Sciences (NERS), is working on research that deals with imaging gamma rays and fast neutrons (different types of radiation) using a dual-particle imaging system that was developed here at U-M. Lopez says, “In nuclear safeguards, the majority of the radioactive materials of interest emit both types of these particles, and being able to localize (via imaging) a source is of great importance.” 

Lopez grew up in Chicago, Illinois, and received his early education in its suburbs. He then went on to pursue his undergraduate degree in nuclear engineering here at U-M due to the department’s standing as the nation’s top program. Lopez then pursued his Master’s degree, one year into which he shifted to the Ph.D. program and soon became a part of the Detection for Nuclear Nonproliferation Group (DNGG), working on particle imaging, a topic in which he was very interested. This decision was Lopez’s attempt at contributing to nuclear safeguards and nuclear nonproliferation efforts. He said, “ The imaging project in my research group has several years of work behind it, and when I joined DNNG as a student in the Ph.D. program, I found it to be a great fit for me.” Before his graduation, he hopes to improve the imager, irrespective of it being done via design or electronics, and introduce capabilities on the user end that would help with conveying the data/information collected during a measurement. Lopez adds that he learned the fundamentals of the work and of the imaging system itself from his previous mentor, William Steinberger, who completed his Ph.D at NERS. Presently, Lopez is leading the dual-particle imager research project. 

Outside of university work, Lopez has completed internships at national laboratories and summer programs such as in nuclear forensics. Outside of research work, he is involved with the IEEE-NPSS and INMM student chapters as the secretary and treasurer for both organizations, the work of both of which entails managing the chapter funds, filling out reimbursements, and creating meeting agendas. On being asked about future plans, Lopez replied, “Currently, I see myself ending up working at one of the national laboratories after graduation. However, nothing is set in stone as of the time of writing. I’d certainly be open to other opportunities.”

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