The 2018 Nuclear Analytical Techniques (NAT) Summer School will be held at the UC Davis in Davis, CA from August 12th to August 17th. We look forward to seeing you at UC Davis. The school will start at 8:30 am on August 12th in the Physics Building Room 185. The school will end on August 17th late afternoon. Please make travel arrangements.

Topic: Nuclear Analytical Techniques (NAT)

The program will consist of some lectures, but mostly hands-on activities involving nuclear analytical techniques. Students will perform Neutron Activation Analysis using the McClellan Nuclear Research Center, study proton elastic scattering at the Crocker cyclotron facility, gain experience and skills in counting with NaI and HPGe crystals, and learn about detectors and analysis techniques important across a broad range of science and industry. Note: This is an introductory course.


There is no registration fee to pay, but you or your institute will be liable for your expenses (travel to and from Davis, accommodation, and meals). For those interested, we will arrange on-campus housing. A limited number of fellowships (provided via NSSC) will be awarded to cover the cost of housing. Please indicate in your application if you are applying for the housing support.

A grant from the National Science Foundation will be used to encourage participation of undergraduate (or first-year graduate) students from underrepresented groups. Please indicate if you are applying for the URM support.


The summer school is open to graduate students and upper-level undergraduates. Interested graduate students should be enrolled in physics, nuclear chemistry, or nuclear engineering program. Undergraduate applicants should have at least one course in quantum mechanics, differential equations, and modern physics. The participation is limited to 16 participants.

Applications to attend the School should include:

1. a completed APPLICATION FORM at this link: 

2. a completed upload of  ACADEMIC TRANSCRIPT (unofficial transcripts are accepted) at this link:

The deadline for receiving the application is June 15th, 2018.  CLOSED

Local team

Bob Svoboda is a professor interested in understanding neutrinos and their relationship to the Standard Model utilizing many experimental approaches (SNO+, DUNE, Theia, WATCHMAN, ANNIE) and R&D projects.

Mani Tripathi is a Professor of Physics. His research interests span the disciplines of particle physics (LUX, LZ, NEST, CMS) and nuclear applications (radio-assay,next-generation silicon-based intelligent charged particle trackers).

Emilija Pantic is an associate professor working on experimental dark matter searches (DarkSide), precision neutrino physics (DUNE) using noble liquid based detectors and related R&D projects.

Ben Godfrey is a Ph.D. candidate working on R&D project that searches for field-type dark matter via extremely sensitive radio antennas.

Aaron Manalaysay is a research associate working on LUX dark matter search experiment and R&D efforts for its successor, LZ.

Teal Pershing is a Ph.D. candidate working with the SNO+ neutrinoless double-beta decay experiment to develop a liquid scintillator purification technique through nanofiltration.

Ben is a Ph.D. candidate working on R&D project designed to characterize neutron interactions with liquid argon, in support of the DarkSide dark matter direct-detection search.

Jyothisraj Johnson is a Ph.D. student whose interests include detector R&D as well as analog electronics development for LZ experiment.

Vincent Fischer is a postdoc in the neutrino physics group working onmeasuring the neutron yield of neutrino interactions in water (ANNIE) and neutrinoless double beta decay search (SNO+).

Jacob Cutter is a Physics Ph.D. candidate working on the development of  LZ dark matter direct detector and a xenon detector R&D testbed which is being used to directly characterize nuclear recoil backgrounds.

Luca Pagani is a postdoc working on direct dark matter detection with noble liquid detectors (DarkSide-50 and DarkSide-20k).


Please fill our evaluation form at the end of the school. Click HERE 
NOTE: There is Air Quality Advisory for this area.

See example here If you are sensitive to the air quality, please plan to spend most of the time indoors and let us know how we can help.

Activities: Most of the activities will have activity sheets posted. Please read it before your scheduled activity and familiarize yourself with the material.

Local Map:

Forms: You will HAVE to fill in Volunteer Information form, CNL RUA form. Those will be distributed during the first day. Also, submit THIS briefing BEFORE going to the MNRC.

Required Clothing: Working in labs at UC Davis will require that you wear long pants and closed toed shoes. Please remember to bring these with you. Other required Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) will be provided to you as needed.

Internet: There is a free wifi for UCD guest called ucd-guest. Connect to it and follow instructions. See more here Wifi guest info

Checking in at the Dorm: If you are staying in the dorm, please see General info, Regulations, and Dining.

Checking in is on 8/11/2018 at the Cuarto Conference Housing desk located in Thoreau Hall, starting at 4pm

Parking: If you are driving to campus you must park in the visitor lots. The easiest is the Mondavi Parking Structure, which is about a ten-minute walk from the Physics Building (campus maps are available online). Note, you will need to get a parking pass from the machine each day.


Transportation: If you are flying into Sacramento, there is a convenient door-to-door shuttle called the Davis Airporter ($23/trip). Make a reservation in advance with the Davis Airporter. You can also take Uber or supper-shuttle.  Davis is also served by the Amtrak Capitol Corridor line. It is about a 30-minute walk from the train station to the dorm through the downtown area.

NSSC Participants: Hannah Patenaude, Hannah Flower, Jana Starks, Liuba Pauline Williams, Kelly F Seeley, Robert, March, Assam Iysheh, Catriana Paw U, Numan Allam, Truc Trung Tran, Brandon Fallon, Edward Callaghan, William Mason and Essa Altalalah

Local NSSC Participants: N/A

Other participants: N/A

International participants: Ji Hoon Shim and Jae Sin In

NSSC fellowship for school participation: Hannah Patenaude, Hannah Flower, Jana Starks, Liuba Pauline Williams, Kelly F Seeley, Robert March, Assam Iysheh, Catriana Paw U, Numan Allam, Truc Trung Tran, Brandon Fallon, Edward Callaghan and William Mason

Schedule and Teams 2018

Team ATeam BTeam CTeam D
Hannah Patenaude
Jana StarksJi Hoon ShimRobert, March
Hannah FlowerAssam IyshehJae Sin InEdward Callaghan
Liuba Pauline WilliamsWilliam MasonNuman AllamCatriana Paw U
Kelly F SeeleyEssa AltalalahTruc Trung Tran
Brandon Fallon

Activities and Lectures 2018

Neutron Activation Analysis – NAA 1/2/3

There will be three NAA activities:
– NAA 1: Preparation of the samples
– NAA 2: Visit of the McClellan research reactor (MNRC), sample irradiation and sample measurement
– NAA 3: Data analysis, reactor flux and contamination calculations

NAA 1: The NAA 1 activity will take place in the clean part of room 385. Each team will prepare two samples, a “control” sample and a “liquid” sample.
Here is the procedure describing the activity step-by-step.

NAA 2: The NAA 2 activity will take place at the MNRC. Teams will be grouped by 2 (A&B and C&D). Each group will leave from the physics building and return to the physics building.
Here is the procedure describing the activity step-by-step.

NAA 3: The NAA 3 activity will take place in room 392 of the physics building. Two people per team will share a computer to analyze the data that was acquired during NAA 2.  The analysis guide is posted here.

Charge Particle Loss – Proton

Here is the link to the spreadsheet that we will use for the activity.

The pre-activity worksheet is here.

Electronics intro – ELEC 

Introduction and construction of a comparator with hysteresis. See here.

Gamma-ray Detection with a High-Purity Germanium Detector – GAMMA 1/2/3

Links to activities:  Gamma1, Gamma2, Gamma3, Guide to nuclear decay schemes

Basic characterization of PMT – PMT

Link to activity: PMT

Cosmic ray flux measurements – Muon

Link to activity: Muon

Basic characterization of SiPM – SiPM

Link to activity: SiPM

Basic Monte Carlo simulation – MC

Previous schools

2017      2016     2015       2013    2012

NAT NSSC summer school is supported by