The Nuclear and Chemical Science Core Facility

Written by Zachariah Heiden
Director, WSU Center for NMR Spectroscopy

To aid in the growth of instrumentation available for analysis of radioactive samples, effective July 1, 2022, the WSU Center for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy will merge with the Nuclear Science Center (NSC). The WSU Center for NMR Spectroscopy was founded in the mid-1990s as a central University facility, administered by the Office of Research, to provide access to state-of-the-art NMR instrumentation to users across the WSU campuses and outside institutions. The NSC (previously known as the Nuclear Radiation Center) has been on the WSU Pullman campus since 1961 and has provided facilities with nuclear-related educational and research programs for the entire campus.

The resulting instrument facility will be called the Nuclear and Chemical Science Core Facility, or the NUCS Core Facility for short. The NUCS Core Facility will consist of one facility housed in two locations (Dodgen Research Facility and Fulmer Hall). The mission of the newly formed NUCS Core Facility is to provide a collaborative environment where WSU faculty, staff, students, and clients can succeed in their basic and applied nuclear and chemical science research goals.

The merging of the NSC and the Center for NMR Spectroscopy was catalyzed by the the Office of Research push to consolidate instrumentation centers, making various instrumentation located at WSU more visible and accessible to researchers both on and off campus.

Current instrumentation at the NUCS Core Facility consists of a 1 MW nuclear reactor; an epithermal neutron beamline; two gamma-ray irradiators; alpha-spectrometers; gamma-spectrometers; a recently acquired X-ray adsorption instrument (installed in 2021 and purchased through a grant from the Department of Energy); a very recently acquired small angle scattering instrument (installed in June 2022, purchased through a grant from the M.J. Murdock Foundation); a powder and single crystal x-ray diffractometer; three NMR spectrometers; and a dynamic light scattering instrument. All of these instruments are capable of analyzing radioactive samples.

The ability for researchers to access a vast array of equipment capable of analysis of radioactive samples in the same facility as a nuclear reactor is a particularly unique capability. The NUCS Core Facility aims to act as a one-stop shop for all things nuclear and to allow researchers to have multiple pieces of instrumentation and characterization techniques readily available to study material properties that cannot be studied under normal conditions.

To learn more about the NUCS Core Facility or recent updates, please visit the facility website.

The barrier used for analysis of radioactive samples of the Varian 600 DD2 NMR spectrometer. Bill Hiscox and Victoria Delsasso are in the background discussing the analysis of the NMR sample in NUCS–Fulmer.
Zachariah Heiden, associate director of NUCS Core Facility, shows Victoria Delsasso, technical assistant, good and bad crystals to select for single crystal analysis on the Bruker D8 Venture single crystal X-ray diffractometer, located in NUCS–Fulmer.
Zachariah Heiden places a crystal in the Bruker D8 single crystal X-ray diffractometer for analysis in NUCS– Fulmer.
A goniometer base containing a radioactive single crystal for analysis in NUCS–Fulmer.
Bill Hiscox, assistant director of WSU Center for NMR Spectroscopy, shows Victoria Delsasso, technical assistant, how to submit NMR samples to the 500 MHz Bruker Avance Neo NMR spectrometer in NUCS–Fulmer.
WSU Nuclear Science Center - NUCS Core Facility logo.