Dr. Sally Hicks
Professor of Physics
University of Dallas
Phone: (972) 721-5215
Fax: (972) 721-5052
My research is currently funded by the Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP) and
the advanced nuclear fuels program of the Department of Energy. The advanced nuclear
fuels program of the DOE sponsors research and development of innovative next-generation
light water nuclear reactors and future fast reactors. For design and safety considerations
of these systems, input in the form of probabilities of neutron-induced reactions
that impact the fuel performance during irradiations, as well as coolants and structural
materials, is required. The goal of this project is to measure with high precision
and accuracy the nuclear data of greatest importance to the Advanced Fuels Program
of the DOE for scattered neutrons on coolants and structural materials. These requirements
can be met by only a few facilities worldwide, and the UK Accelerator Laboratory,
with its advanced neutron production and detection capabilities, is uniquely suited
for these measurements. The high-quality data produced at UK will be utilized by data
evaluators, theorists, and engineers in producing safer, cleaner, more-efficient energy
A consortium of three universities (UD, the University of Kentucky and the United
States Naval Academy) and a national laboratory (Idaho National Laboratory) has been
formed to provide the necessary breadth for this effort and includes scientists with
extensive experience in neutron elastic and elastic scattering measurements and with
direct access to the facilities for completing the proposed neutron measurements,
i.e., the UK Accelerator Laboratory. This three-year project, which will integrate closely
with other interested national/international groups of scientists and engineers, will
provide partial support for faculty and staff and will afford training in neutron
physics for six to ten university undergraduate students, a graduate student, and
a postdoctoral scholar, thus helping address the nation’s need to improve the nuclear
science and engineering infrastructure so the industry will be prepared for future
expansion. Funding will be available during the next three years for at least one
UD undergraduate student to participate in measurements and data analyses.
I also conduct research in the area of nuclear structure, specifically the structure
of the Z=52 isotopes. Low-lying excited levels of the even-even Tellurium nuclei
are being investigated using g-ray spectroscopy following inelastic neutron scattering.
This reaction mechanism allows us to determine the lifetimes of levels in the few
femtosecond to few picosecond region and to deduce electromagnetic transition rates.
From these investigations we are able to learn about the collective properties of
the nucleus. In particular, we can study multi-phonon excitations, intruder excitations,
and states of mixed neutron-proton symmetry.
Several undergraduate students have completed an undergraduate senior research thesis
from their participation in this project. Examples of student projects are listed
This research is done in collaboration with nuclear scientists from the United States
Naval Academy, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Cologne and is supported
by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
B.S., Physics and Mathematics, Eastern Kentucky University (1981)
M.S., Physics, University of Kentucky (1984)
Ph.D., Nuclear Physics, University of Kentucky (1988)
Selected Recent Publications
UD undergraduates are indicated in blue.
- Elastic and Inelastic Neutron Scattering Cross Sections for Fission Reactor Applications,”
S. F. Hicks, A. Chakraborty, B. Combs, B. P. Crider, L. Downes, J. Girgis, L. J. Kersting, A. Kumar, C. J. Lueck, P. J. McDonough,M. T. McEllistrem, E. E. Peters, F. M. Prados-Estevz, J. Schniederjan, L. Sidwell, A. J. Sigillito, J. R. Vanhoy, D. Watts, and S. W. Yates. AIP Conf. Proc. 1525, 276 (2013); doi: 10.1063/1.4802333.
- "Measurement of the Absolute Elastic and Inelastic Differential Neutron Cross Sections
for 23Na between 2 and 4 MeV,”, A Kumar, A Chakraborty, B.P. Crider, M.T. McEllistrem, E.E.
Peters, F.M. Prados-Estevez , S.W. Yates S. F. Hicks, L. J. Kersting, C.J. Luke, P. J. McDonough, A Sigillito, and J. R. Vanhoy, Capture Gamma-Ray Spectroscopy and Related Topics, ed. Paul E. Garrett and Baharak Hadinia, (World Scientific, 2013) 254-259.
- "Collective and two-quasiparticle excitations in 128Te" by S. F. Hicks, J. C. Boehringer, N. Boukharouba, C. Fransen, S. R. Lesher, J. M. Mueller, J. R. Vanhoy, and S. W.
Yate, Phys. Rev. C 86, 054308 (2012).
- “Undergraduate Measurements for Fission Reactor Applications”, S. F. Hicks, L. J. Kersting, C. J. Lueck, P. J. McDonough, J. R. Vanhoy, M. T. McEllistrem, AIP Conf. Proc. 1336, 738 (2011).
- S. F. Hicks, J. R. Vanhoy, and S. W. Yates, Phys. Rev. C 78, 054320 (2008).
- Sally F. Hicks and J. R. Vanhoy, Nucl. Instruments and Methods in Physics Research
B 261, 260 (2007).
- S. F. Hicks, G. K. Alexander, C. A. Aubin, M. C. Burns, C. J. Collard, M. M. Walbran, J. R. Vanhoy, E. Jensen*, P.E. Garrett, M. Kadi, A. Martin, N. Warr, and S. W. Yates,
Phys. Rev. C 71, 034307 (2005).
Student Research Projects from Nuclear Structure and Neutron Scattering Investigations
- Anthony Sigillito, "Neutron Scattering Measurements on 23Na and Normalization Tests,"
no thesis (2011).
- Luke Kersting, "Neutron Elastic and Inelastic Scatttering Studies of NatFe and 23Na
at En= 3.57 MeV and 3.86 MeV." (2010)
- Peter McDonough, "Testing Procedures and Detectors for Neutron Elastic and Inelastic
Scattering Measurements", no thesis (2010).
- Jeff Ellis, "Experimental Studies of 130Te", no thesis (2003).
- J. C. Boehringer, "Decay Properties and State Lifetimes in 128Te from Inelastic Neutron
- Matthew Burns, "Nuclear Structure Study of 122Te through Inelastic Neutron Scattering"
- Patrick Roddy, "Gamma-Ray Energy Calibrations and Detector Efficiencies for 126Te
Studies", no thesis (2001).
- Christopher Aubin, "Gamma-Gamma Coincidence Studies of the 122Te Nucleus", no thesis
- Meghan M. Walbran, "Low-Energy Excited Levels of 122Te through Gamma-ray Spectroscopy
Following Inelastic Neutron Scattering (1999).
- Beth Sklaney, "Electromagnetic Transition Rates and Multi-phonon Excitations Observed
in the Cerium-140 Nucleus (1999).
- Gary Alexander, "Lifetimes of 122Te Excited Levels Using the Doppler-Shift Attenuation
- Corey Collard, "Analyses of Gamma-ray Transitions from 122Te Excited Levels, (1998).
- Steve Etzkorn, "Decay Properties and Lifetimes of States in 124Te from (n,n'g) Reaction
Studies ", (1997).
- Peter Burkett, "Te-124 Experimental Studies", no thesis (1997)
- Christopher Davoren, "Natural Te Experimental Studies", no thesis (1995 & 1996).
- William Faulkner, "Electromagnetic Transition Rates Observed in the Stable Te Isotopes"
- Carl Lundstedt, "Aiding in the Determining of the Excited States of 142-Ce Through
the Use of Fortran Programming", (1993).
- Suzanne Maska, "Data Reduction and Analysis", no thesis (1992).
- Christopher J. Bennett, "A Study of Calibration Techniques and the Relative Yields
of Escape Peaks in 152-Eu and 56-Co", (1992).
- Eric Meier, "Inelastic Neutron Scattering on 140-Ce and 142-Ce", (1991)
Other Student Theses Supervised
- Mary Catalano, "Identifying Inertial Modes in a Hide-Titman Flow" (2011).
- Zofia Kaminski, "Particle Tracking of Fluorescent Microspheres" (2011).
- Christen Racciato, "Crystallization of Germanium for Use in Solar Cells" (2011).
- Anthony Sigillito, "The Design and Fabrication of Bismuth Hall Effect Biosensors"
- Natalie Weisse, "Expression and Manipulation of AquaporinZ in vitro Using the Cell
Free System" (2011).
- Peter McDonough, "Iridium Satellite Signal Exploitation" (2010).
- Monica Lacy, "Improvements in Positron Accumulation Technique at ATRAP" (2010).
- Annette Borchard, "East Antarctic Ice Sheets: Potential for Sub-Glacial Water Based
on Temperature Modeling" (2009).
- Joseph Gilpin, "Influence of Magnetic Molecules on Electron Spin Scattering in InAs
as Seen in Its Low Temperature Magnetoresistance" (2009).
- David E. Solis, "The Effect of a Nematic Liquid Crystal Environment on the Alignment
of the Conductive Polymer MEH-PPV as a Function of Polymer Chain Length" (2008).
- Gregory Robert Knutsen, "The structure of the Metal Transporter Tp34 and its Affinity
for Divalent Metal Ions" (2008).
- William Spearman, "Testing Edgeless Planar Detectors" (2008).
- Eric Pepin, "Interaural Coherence and Localization" (2007).
- Bridget McEwen, "Using Seismology to Map and Characterize the Glacial Bed in the Onset
Region of Ice Stream D, West Antarctica" (2007).
- Kristi Michels, "The 27Al(p,γ)28Si Reaction(2006).
- Maria Bellon, Stabilizing the Frequency of an InGaAs/AlGaAs Laser Module (2005)
- Levente Borvak, Neutron/Gamma-ray Pulse Shape Discrimination Using a PSD Circuit (2004).
- Stephanie Wissel, Skymaps for GALPROP Simulations of VHE Gamma Rays (2004).
- Janessa Bechtel, "Losses in SRF Cavities" (2003).
- Genevieve Wing, "Diffusion in the Presence of Adsorption in Organic Aerogels" (2003).
- Claire Nerbun, "Two-Photon Fluorescence Microscopy and Deconvolution Analysis" (2002).
- Brenda Martin, Insertion Complexes with Methyl-b-Cyclodextrin with Alkane Chains Confined
in an Isolated Droplet of Water (2001).
- Shelly Wark, "Sensitive Laser Detection of Environmental Pollutants" (2001).
- Elizabeth A. Reisinger, "Investigation of the Fundamental and Higher Order Modes of
the APS Storage Ring Single Cell Cavity",(1993).
- Patricia Suzanne Maska, "Development of Elastic Surfaces for Optical Estimation of
Cell Traction Forces", (1992).
- John Bauer, "Preliminary Results from a Search for a Superdeformed State in 188-Hg",
Class and Office Hour Schedule - 2011—2012 (Sabbatical)