Interaction of Ionizing Radiation with Matter (IIRM) University Research Alliance (URA)

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The IIRM-URA, in coordination with DTRA, will conduct fundamental research in three focused research areas (RA) to identify and develop revolutionary scientific breakthroughs that will reduce, eliminate, or counter nuclear and radiological threats of WMD: (1) Materials- Optical, Functional, Computational and Electronic, (2) Devices and Integration- Photodetectors, Non-volatile Memory, Detection Electronics, Hardware Processing, Non-traditional Computation Devices, and (3) Survival and Response- Survivability Testing, Collection, and Analysis.  The underlying theme for the IIRM-URA is a synergistic research program to identify relevant physics, device and system designs, and modelling approaches to understand, identify, and control ionizing interactions of radiation with materials. Working in a collaborative and interdisciplinary manner, the Alliance will:

  1. Investigate the interaction of ionizing radiation with matter in order to identify advanced material systems, devices and integration, and survivability response to detect or defeat WMD. Through cross-cutting modeling and informatics, new materials will be identified, developed, processed, and evaluated for improved detection of ionizing radiation.
  2. Assist in training the next generation workforce and student pipeline to counter WMD.
  3. Advance fundamental knowledge of materials interactions with ionizing radiation.
  4. Promote interdisciplinary research and solutions in support of WMD threat reduction.
  5. Facilitate implementation and research transition that enables new capabilities for the warfighter to maintain a competitive advantage.
  6. Perform transformative research focused on understanding interactions of ionizing radiation with crosscutting modeling and simulation across all three research areas.
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  • IIRM Hosts Kick-off Meeting. The Interaction of Ionizing Radiation with Matter University Research Alliance (IIRM URA) launched its activities in line with the academic semester with a virtual kickoff meeting held on August 24 and 27, 2020. The IIRM URA, sponsored by with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), is an alliance of 19 partner institutions led by The Pennsylvania State University (PSU), focusing on basic research concerning radiation interacting with materials for detection and electronics; devices and integration; and nuclear survival, response, modeling, and simulation.

    Executives from DTRA and PSU provided introductory remarks, including Dr. Rhys Williams, DTRA Director of Research and Development, Dr. Michael Kuliasha, Director Nuclear Technologies (DTRA R&D Directorate), Dr. Lora Weiss, PSU Senior Vice President for Research, and Dr. Allen Sonsteby, Executive Director of the Applied Research Laboratory at PSU. The kickoff meeting was hosted by IIRM URA Program Manager Dr. Douglas Wolfe from PSU and IIRM Cooperative Agreement Manager Dr. Mike Robinson from DTRA.

    Keynote addresses underscored the importance of the research that the alliance will be performing, the collaborative nature of the alliance projects, and the support of workforce development including the vision of the student sandbox. The three technical leads within the IIRM URA each described plans for research their areas: Dr. Ju Li (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Materials; Dr. Mark Hammig (University of Michigan), Devices and Integration; and Dr. Stephen Pearton (University of Florida), Survivability and Response. Dr. Michael Tonks spoke to the alliance’s plans for a cross-cutting research initiative. 

    PDF Presentation: Interaction of Ionizing Radiation with Matter University Research Alliance (IIRM-URA) Overview
    PDF Presentation: RA1: Materials
    PDF Presentation: RA2: Devices and Integration
    PDF Presentation: RA3: Survivability and Response Survivability Testing, Collection, and Analysis
    PDF Presentation: Cross Cutting Research Initiatives (CCRI)


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  • University of Michigan
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • University of Florida
  • Brigham Young University
  • University of California at Berkeley
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Northwestern University
  • FISK University
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Air Force Institute of Technology
  • United States Military Academy at West Point
  • Sandia National Laboratory
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Naval Research Laboratory
  • H3D Inc.
  • Radiation Monitoring Devices Inc.
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Contact Info

Interaction of Ionizing Radiation with Matter University Research Alliance
230 Innovation Blvd, Room 119 University Park, PA 16802
814-865-5004 /