UMD Hosts Ionizing Radiation and Polymers Symposium

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) Professor Mohamad Al-Sheikhly chaired the 9th International Symposium on Ionizing Radiation and Polymers (IRaP 2010), held October 25-29 at the University of Maryland and organized in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Founded in 1994, IRaP, which is dedicated to the study of the radiation chemistry of polymers, attracts an international community of scientists from academia, research labs, and industry for the presentation new research, exchange of knowledge, and promotion of new industrial applications.

Controlled irradiation can be used to sterilize or to modify and enhance the mechanical and physical properties of polymers used materials such as plastics, coatings, resins and gels. Al-Sheikhly's research group is currently exploring the use of irradiated polymers in biomedical applications, including extending the functional lifespan of joint-replacement implants and the production of nanogels which could serve as drug carriers.

Professor Emeritus Yoneho Tabata (Nuclear Engineering Research Laboratory, University of Tokyo), delivered the symposium's keynote address. Sessions were held on a wide variety of topics including kinetics, grafting, industrial applications, dosimetry, composites, electron and ion beam technology, plasma and reactive ion etching, neutron scattering, energy, bipolymers and DNA, and lithography. IRaP also featured a large poster session, student awards, a free afternoon in Washington, D.C., and a gala at which four members of the international radiation chemistry and physics community, including Tabata and MSE Professor Emeritus Joseph Silverman, received lifetime achievement awards.

MSE Professor and Chair Robert M. Briber served on IRaP 2010's national organizing committee. MSE Professor Gottleib Oehrlein chaired the symposium's session on plasma and reactive ion etching.

IRaP 2010 was sponsored by Abbott Vascular, Biomet, E-BEAM Services, the International Irradiation Association, and Sterigenics, Inc.

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Published November 4, 2010