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When Electrons Aren't Enough: Applications of Radiochemistry

  • Pharmaceutical Sciences Building 2405 Wesbrook Mall Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z3 Canada (map)


David Robertson


The University of Missouri is home to the nation’s largest university research reactor. The 10 MW University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR) is a national resource for research in neutron-related science and engineering, providing educational opportunities for students in these fields, and providing radiation and isotope production services. While the applications are numerous and varied, one of MURR’s key roles is employing nuclear science in the battle against cancer and other chronic human disorders. The first part of the talk will provide an overview of MURR and our work in the areas of radioisotope production and novel nanoparticle constructs for targeted radiotherapy.

Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are considered to be one of the discriminating technologies of the 21st century. In order to take full advantage of the MEMS revolution, the power sources for these electromechanical systems must follow a similar trend of increased functionality at decreased size. Because of their high energy density, radioactive micropower sources are an alternative to next generation battery and fuel cell technologies for applications where volume is at a premium.  The second portion of the presentation will focus on our development of liquid-semiconductor nuclear batteries as compact power supplies for MEMS.


J. David Robertson is a professor in the Chemistry Department at the University of Missouri, and Associate Director for Research and Education of the University of Missouri Research Reactor.  Dave obtained his B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Missouri at Columbia in 1982 and his Ph.D. in nuclear chemistry from the University of Maryland at College Park in 1986.  After 2 years of postdoctoral research at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Dr. Robertson joined the chemistry faculty at the University of Kentucky in 1989.  He moved to the University of Missouri in 2000. Dave received the University of Missouri William H. Byler Distinguished Professor award in 2006 and was named as a Fellow of the American Chemical Society in 2010.  He currently serves as the National Director for the American Chemical Society Summer Schools in Nuclear and Radiochemistry.

Later Event: November 4
Radiotherapy at TRIUMF