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Amgen Scholars: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty for the Amgen Scholars program.

Announcements of Opportunity are posted as they are received. Please check back regularly for new AO submissions! Remember: This is just one way that you can go about identifying a suitable project and/or mentor. For additional tips on identifying a mentor click here.

Please remember:

  • Students pursuing Amgen must be U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, or students with DACA status.
  • Students pursuing Amgen must complete the 10-week program from June 18 - August 23, 2024. Students must commit to these dates. No exceptions will be made.
  • Accepted students must live in provided Caltech housing.

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Project:  Chlorination of Metal Oxides in Molten Salt
Disciplines:  Chemical Engineering, Chemistry
Mentor:  Michael Simpson, Professor, (CCE),, Phone: 801-581-4013
Mentor URL:  (opens in new window)
Background:  NOTE 1: This project is being offered by a Caltech alum and is open only to Caltech students. The project with take place at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah.

NOTE 2: Due to funding requirements, this SURF is open only to US citizens.

A two-step process is currently being developed for recycling spent nuclear fuel from light water reactors. The first step involves chlorination of uranium and fission product oxides via reaction with ZrCl4 to form chlorides that dissolve in a molten salt solution. A key unknown is what degree of conversion each metal oxide will undergo to the chloride. Experimental data is needed on several different metal oxides.

Description:  The student will set up and run experiments in which different metal oxides are reacted with ZrCl4 in a molten salt solution at 500oC. Samples will be taken and analyzed by the student using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The student will analyze, compile, and summarize data. Experiments will be run in an argon atmosphere glove box containing high temperature furnaces. By products will be analyzed by the student using X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM).
References:  J. Chamberlain and M. Simpson, Journal Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry 331.12 (2022): 4983-4996.

J. Chamberlain, A. Taunque, and M. Simpson, Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry 332.6 (2023): 1657-1665.
Student Requirements:  Chem 1

Must be willing to work in a laboratory with radiological materials (U and Th).

Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    Caltech students only 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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