Jay A. LaVerne

Jay A. LaVerne

Lamar University, B.S. (1972)
University of Nebraska, Ph.D. (1981)

Phone: (574)631-5563
Email: laverne.1@nd.edu
Office: 316 Radiation Research Building

Radiation Chemical Effects with Heavy Ions

Scientific Interests

Experimental Heavy Ion Studies

Development and use of experimental radiolysis techniques: includes beta radiolysis, gamma radiolysis, fast electron pulse radiolysis, and heavy ion radiolysis (protons to oxygen) using several accelerators at the University of Notre Dame.

Condensed Phase Radiolysis

Examination of the main pathways for medium decomposition due to the passage of ionizing radiation in water, aqueous solutions, liquid hydrocarbons, polymers, and resins.

Track Chemistry

Diffusion-kinetic modeling of the nonhomogeneous spatial distributions of the transient species produced by the absorption of energy by ionizing radiation.


Elucidation of the radiation chemical effects occurring at the interface of nanoparticles and absorbed or liquid water and molten salts.

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Recent Accomplishments

Radiolysis of iron oxide-water interfaces

Mitigation of radiation induced corrosion is a major challenge in the nuclear power industry. Water radiolysis products are shown for the first time at the molecular level to induce the oxidation of iron oxide interfaces. This oxidation does not progress uniformly across the surface but rather in isolated islands that grow in time. Further understanding of this process on the molecular level will aid in the development of new cladding materials.

Degradation of aliphatic compounds

Nuclear waste separations is receiving renewed interest both to close the nuclear fuel chain and for long-term storage considerations. Dodecane is receiving serious consideration as a solvent in the next generation of waste separation systems and knowledge on H2 formation with the various types of radiation that will be encountered is important for its fundamental aspects and for safety considerations in future operating systems. The yields of H2 in the radiolysis of dodecane have been accurately measured with gamma rays and a wide variety of heavy ions. These yields are shown to be nearly constant with the type of radiation. Dodecane, like all aliphatics, is relatively sensitive to radiation.

Hydrogen peroxide formation and decomposition in water

Hydrogen peroxide is one of the most important oxidizing species produced in the radiolysis of water with respect to radiation induced corrosion and yet the mechanism is only now becoming unraveled. A wide variety of experiments have been performed to mimic the water radiolysis of reactor coolants using aqueous solutions with added molecular hydrogen. Experiments have shown that hydrogen peroxide does indeed decompose more rapidly with added molecular hydrogen but the amount of decomposition is not stoichiometric due to the production of molecular hydrogen by the water radiolysis. The radiolysis of solutions with initial hydrogen peroxide can lead to an increase or decrease of that concentration depending on the type of radiolysis.

State selected decomposition of liquid aromatics

The radiolytic response of several aromatic compounds are being examined with respect to the contributions made by high energy excited states. Molecular hydrogen production from the radiolysis of simple aromatic liquids with gamma rays is extremely low and these compounds are typically thought to be radiation inert. However, the yield of molecular hydrogen can increase dramatically with increasing linear energy transfer, LET, of the incident radiation. This increase was observed to be almost an order of magnitude from gamma rays to 5 MeV alpha particles. Simple heterogeneous substitutions or the addition of side chains has little effect on these yields. Most important, the yield of molecular hydrogen was found to be independent of the phase so the simple liquid aromatic compounds can be used to infer radiolytic effects of solid compounds, which are by nature more difficult to examine.

Water decomposition at very short times

Laverne Clip Image 2018

The formation of molecular hydrogen from liquid water has always been difficult to understand. Its formation formation in storage tanks is a major challenge for the maintenance of legacy waste and detailed knowledge of its production pathways is critical especially in very concentrated salt environments. Excited state water produced by gamma radiolysis is shown to be a significant source of molecular hydrogen and although very short lived it can be effectively quenched by high concentrations of nitrate anion. This pathway leads to an entirely new methods for the exchange of energy to solutes in aqueous solutions.

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Selected Publications

Iwamatsu, K., S. Sundin and J.A. LaVerne. "Hydrogen Peroxide Kinetics in Water Radiolysis." Radiation Physics and Chemistry  145 (2018): 207-212. link

Postek, M.T., D.L. Poster, A.E. Vladar, M.S. Driscoll, J.A. LaVerne, Z. Tsinas and M.I. Al-Sheikhly. "Ionizing Radiation Processing and Its Potential in Advancing Biorefining and Nanocellulose Composite Materials Manufacturing." Radiation Physics and Chemistry 143 (2018): 47-52. link

LaVerne, J.A., N.A.I. Tratnik, and A. Sasgen "Gas Production in the Radiolysis of Poly(dimethylsiloxanes)." Radiation Physics and Chemistry 142 (2018): 50-53. link

Horne, G.P., S.M. Pimblott and J.A. LaVerne. "Inhibition of Radiolytic Molecular Hydrogen Formation by Quenching of Excited State Water." Journal of Physical Chemistry B 121 (2017): 5385-5390. link

LaVerne, J.A. and S.R. Kleemola. "Hydrogen Production in the Radiolysis of Dodecane and Hexane." Solvent Extraction and Ion Exchange 35 (2017): 210-220. link

Reiff, S.C. and J.A. LaVerne. "Radiolysis of Water with Aluminum Oxide Surfaces." Radiation Physics and Chemistry 131 (2017): 46-50. link


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