Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Nuclear Engineering

First Advisor

Rusi P Taleyarkhan

Committee Member 1

Shripad Revankar

Committee Member 2

Sean McDeavitt

Committee Member 3

Jim Schweitzer

Committee Member 4

Robert Bean


This dissertation covers advancements made to the technology of Centrifugally Tensioned Metastable Fluid radiation Detectors (CTMFDs) as well as potential application to nuclear waste reprocessing facilities. The CTMFD operates by stretching a fluid below vacuum pressure using centrifugal mechanical tension to destabilize the fluid to the point where radiation interactions in the fluid can cause rapid nucleation and boiling of the fluid. This interaction manifests as the rapid expansion of a vapor cavity within the detector that is visible to the naked eye and audible without amplification. This detection mechanism, while simple to observe, has opened up a wide variety of radiation detection applications. The detection process involves formation of a nanometer scale bubble from radiation interaction, then grown to the macro scale by the properties and tension of the fluid. The bubble growth, and thereby, the detection process is threshold based allowing the CTMFD to be tuned to allow detection of differing types of radiation or energy of particles. Typically the CTMFD is used to detect external neutron sources and internal alpha emitting sources. This work expanded those detection options to include internal fission events, both spontaneous and externally induced. The CTMFD has been previously shown to have effective discrimination of gamma photons, and this capability was further demonstrated as part of this work. Also demonstrated for the first time was the ability to completely ignore beta radiation inside the CTMFD. This is advantageous for measuring weak alpha signatures in the intense beta/gamma environment of spent nuclear fuel.