You've probably heard of uranium and plutonium. Americium (Am) is less widely discussed outside chemistry circles, but the separation of this radioactive element from nuclear waste is a major goal of fuel reprocessing research. The trouble is that trivalent Am ions are hard to tease apart from similarly charged lanthanide ions. Professor Dares, new faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, developed a novel electrochemical approach to this problem, which may lead to new nuclear fuel technologies. His research was recently published in the journal Science. Read about it here: Electrochemical oxidation of 243Am(III) in nitric acid by a terpyridyl-derivatized electrode
Speaking with Professor Dares, he stated that these are exciting times to be involved with nuclear research. If you are interested in research in this field, you are in luck! FIU now has a Ph.D. program in radiochemistry, with openings for motivated students.
Dr. Dares' work with Americium has gained the attention of the Department of Energy and they have funded his nuclear research for the next three years with an $800,000 grant. Those students interested in the Radiochemistry Program are encouraged to contact Professor Dares (firstname.lastname@example.org). Currently, he is looking to fill two postdoctoral positions. He actively encourages all potential graduate students to talk to him about joining the Radiochemistry Program where there are a variety of other funding opportunities, as well as available employment opportunities after graduation.