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Fisk University receives 2013 R&D 100 Award

Fisk University’s LISe: A High-Efficiency Thermal Neutron Detector has been selected by an independent judging panel and the editors of R&D Magazine as a recipient of a 2013 R&D 100 Award for its role in the development of more effective and economical neutron radiation detection sensors. Fisk is the only minority serving institution ever to win this prestigious recognition.

R&D 100 Awards, also nicknamed the "Oscars of Science", identify the 100 most significant, newly introduced research and development advances in multiple scientific disciplines. The winning of an R&D 100 Award provides a mark of excellence known to industry, government, and academia as proof that the product is one of the most technologically significant national and international innovations of the year.

This is Fisk’s 4th R&D Award with previous awards in 1998, 2001 and 2010. Fisk is sharing this award with the Y-12 National Security Complex and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, both national facilities of the Department of Energy in Oak Ridge TN.Fisk’s role in this innovative project is the growth and optimization of lithium indium diselenide crystals. The old generation of detectors is based on helium-3, a rare isotope of helium. In recent years, the world is experiencing a severe shortage of this gas as the demand for national security applications grew and exceeded the supply delivered by the nuclear weapon program. Research in the area of crystal growth at Fisk, a key element in radiation detection devices, has been ongoing for almost 27 years.

"We are extremely pleased to obtain this recognition. The new compact but highly sensitive device will keep our ports and major cities safe and secure. In addition, there are a myriad of applications that Dr. Arnold Burger, who leads the Fisk team, and their research partners are envisioning," said Fisk President H. James Williams. "The groundbreaking discovery of these neutron detectors is critically important due to their applications in national security, as well as, in medicine, space, environmental science, oil-logging, and other scientific and industrial applications".