Our faculty work at the leading edge of their nuclear science and engineering disciplines with active collaborations worldwide. 

At the forefront of nuclear science, our department harnesses substantial funding to fuel groundbreaking research. With a robust $31.6 million allocated in 2023, we provide unparalleled opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty to engage in transformative research.

Research Areas

Fission Systems & Radiation Transport

Understanding the way that atomic nuclei split and how radiation moves through materials is crucial to nuclear power and nuclear nonproliferation.

Materials & Radiation Effects

Radioactive materials and the response of materials to radiation are important to nuclear power, space technology, and fundamental science.

Plasmas & Nuclear Fusion

Plasmas have the potential to purify water, propel spacecraft across the solar system and beyond, heal wounds, ignite nuclear fusion, and more.

Radiation Measurements & Imaging

Radiation measurements are important for medical imaging, archaeology, astrophysics, and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.

We boast over 20 labs, and several of our major facilities are on par with those you might find at a national laboratory.  Here are just a few:

a large laboratory with lots of machinery

Michigan Ion Beam Laboratory

Advancing our understanding of ion-solid interactions by providing up-to-date equipment with unique and extensive facilities to support research at the cutting edge of science. Learn more.

brick building exterior with trees and fountain

Nuclear Engineering Laboratory

The NEL hosts several labs, including: the Detection for Nuclear Nonproliferation Laboratory, the Glenn F. Knoll Nuclear Measurements Laboratory, and the High Resolution TH Imaging Laboratory.

four people working around a large piece of machinery

Plasma, Pulsed Power, and Microwave Laboratory

Investigating the fundamental physics and technology of interactions between beams of electrons, ions, plasma, microwaves, laser light and radio frequency radiation with plasmas, materials, structures, and biological cells. Learn more.

Thermal Hydraulics Lab

Separate-effect and integral-effects tests in reactor thermal hydraulics to support the improvement of light water reactors (LWRs) and development of advanced non-LWR reactors, including molten salt reactors and high-temperature gas-cooled reactors. Learn more.

glowing green lab


NERS researchers use three state-of-the-art high power laser systems: HERCULES, Ti:Sapphire, and T-cubed. The facility is current building ZEUS, which will be the most powerful laser in the country. Learn more.

Plasma Science & Technology Lab

Understanding and applying plasma science to real world problems such as achieving sustainability and the reuse of our planet’s resources. Learn more.

Research Priorities

Sustainable Energy

Access to clean, affordable, and reliable energy improves human lives. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), nuclear power is the largest source of clean energy in the United States, providing 53% of the emission-free energy in 2020. Nuclear energy has emerging national and international market opportunities in addition to gigawatt scale electricity. Twenty-first-century nuclear energy will include zero-carbon direct forms such as heat and energy carriers like electricity and hydrogen. Partnerships with industrial users to provide electricity, heat, plasmas, and advanced materials will improve economic competitiveness. 

Environment and Health

Advances in nuclear and radiological science can improve the efficacy of medical diagnosis and treatment, aid in the environmental cleanup of chemical and biological contaminants, and decrease the environmental effects associated with deploying nuclear technology, importantly in the storage and disposal of used nuclear fuel.

Nuclear Security and Defense

The deployment of nuclear technology comes with the responsibility to control and account for radiological materials. This is true in many applications including homeland security, medical imaging, and nuclear fuel cycle monitoring to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Advances are needed in methodologies for the safeguards of nuclear and radiological materials, tools for science-based stockpile stewardship, and the understanding of materials under extreme conditions.

Scientific Discovery

Technological revolution springs from new fundamental discoveries. Discovery comes through using world-class experimental facilities, including particle beams and radiation sources, to interrogate systems under extreme conditions, improving our ability to detect radiation signals and apply advanced computing to understand physical interactions.

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We believe that engaging in research as an undergraduate student is a very important part of the NERS experience, and many of our third- and fourth-year undergraduate students are actively involved and have co-authored papers in scientific journals.

a person wearing blue gloves and working in the lab