Our staff works in an environment that affords rich opportunities and extensive facilities to perform state-of-the-art research on actinide elements. Available is an inventory of selected isotopes spanning Th-Cm. All of these elements are radioactive and studies of them are performed in a suite of laboratories purpose-built to provide a safe environment for transuranic sample preparation and characterization. These laboratories house the hoods, glove-boxes, dry-boxes, furnaces and associated infrastructure necessary for the synthesis of a wide variety of inorganic, alpha-emitting, actinide-containing samples, from tracer-level to the microscopic and macroscopic scale. Structure-characterization capabilities include two Bruker single-crystal diffractometers equipped with APEX II CCD detectors. Our laboratories also contain a full array of standard radioanalytical-counting equipment, electrochemical workstations, Raman, conventional UV-visible/near-IR and Fourier transform IR spectrophotometers and a SQUID magnetometer. Our laser laboratory enables a wide variety of absorption, emission, and dynamic studies of the optical response of radioactive samples from 1.5 K to 1373 K. New to this capability is recently-purchased sum-frequency-generation (SFG) equipment, acquired to underpin our program on SX interfaces.

Opportunities are afforded to our program by the co-location, at Argonne, of the Advanced Photon Source (APS) and our hot laboratories. These complementary facilities provide us with a means of characterizing the atomic structure and morphology as well as selected electronic and magnetic properties of our materials. The location of APS at Argonne permits us to measure actinide-containing samples with minimal time and effort lost to sample transport and to perform in situ chemistry on surfaces and under electrochemical control.

Materials Design Laboratory (MDL)

Architectural rendering of Argonne’s new Materials Design Laboratory (MDL). This new building is planned for occupancy early in 2020, when the HESS group will move into the new, purpose-built radiological suite that occupies the entire third floor.