Samuel Perry (Burns Group)

Intercalation of Uranyl Peroxide Nanoclusters into Pillared Layered Double Hydroxides

January 16, 2019

Samuel Perry is a third-year graduate student in the Burns actinide lab. He presented "Intercalation of uranyl peroxide nanoclusters into pillared layered double hydroxides," at the ND Energy PD&GS Luncheon in January.

Sam Perry

Perry is one of the recipients of the 2019 Patrick and Jana Eilers Graduate Student Fellowship for Energy Related Research from ND Energy. His research focuses on using synthetic layered double hydroxides to contain uranyl peroxide cage clusters in their interlayers. These materials could have useful applications in the nuclear fuel cycle as a component of engineered barriers in a spent fuel repository and for remediation of radionuclide contaminated sites.

While pursuing his bachelor’s degree at The Ohio State University, he worked on a research project for Prof. Wendy Panero examining the composition of deep Earth. He studied which of the lower mantle mineral-phases were most likely to host uranium and thorium, sparking his interest in the actinide elements.  When it came time to search for a graduate school, the geochemical and materials science research of Prof. Peter Burns, director of ND Energy, was an ideal fit.

Although Perry came to Notre Dame to be a member of the Burns group, he believes this is a good university to perform research, citing the vast research capacity that continues to be strengthened. Perry highlighted the new laboratory space and newer equipment of the Materials Characterization Facility.

“There is no shortage of characterization instruments available,” Perry said of the facilities at the University.

Perry is an active volunteer for many of ND Energy’s outreach activities, from the annual Science Alive event at the St. Joseph County Public Library to Art 2 Science camp in the summer.  He is also passionate about advocating for nuclear power.

“I like doing outreach to course-correct for any preconceived notions,” Perry said. While acknowledging the inherent challenges, such as safe disposal of nuclear waste, he believes public perception often exaggerates the dangers of nuclear energy.

Additionally, Perry’s career goal to become a professor drives his eagerness to introduce children to science and encourage them to think critically.

“Whether it’s a high-end research professor at a private university or teaching Geology 101 at a community college, I just like teaching,” Perry said of his future plans.