Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory



Brett Isselhardt

Research Staff
Nuclear and Chemical Sciences Division


 +1 925-424-3347


DegreeDiscipline/InstitutionYear
Ph.D. Nuclear Engineering
University of California at Berkeley
B.S. Physics with Honors
Westmont College

Research Interests

I am interested in nuclear forensics and the security of nuclear materials in general (e.g., safeguards, nonproliferation, and illicit trafficking). I prefer to take a broad view of the possible solutions to hard problems including technical and political approaches. My work has centered on developing resonance ionization mass spectrometry to measure actinide isotope ratios in nuclear materials, with an emphasis on the atomic physics and atom-laser interactions driving the ionization process. I've also studied Plutonium oxide morphology using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). In addition, I am currently working on materials analysis team focused on understanding the micro- and nano-scale structure in fallout debris from historical US tests using a variety of techniques including gamma spectroscopy, autoradiography, secondary ionization mass spectrometry (SIMS), SEM and EDS.

Honors and Awards

  • NTNFC Nuclear Forensics Post-doctoral Fellow, 2011, LLNL
  • Lawrence Scholar Fellowship, 2006, LLNL
  • Nuclear Science for National Security Fellowship, 2006, LLNL
  • Student Instructor of the Year, Nuclear Engineering, 2004, UC Berkeley
  • Kenneth Monroe Award, 2003, Westmont College
  • Physics Department Senior of the Year, 2003, Westmont College

Selected (Recent) Publications

Isselhardt, B.H., Prussin, S.G., Savina, M.R., Willingham, D.G., Knight, K.B., Hutcheon, I.D., "Relative Ionization Probabilities for Resonance Ionization Mass Spectrometry: The Influence of Laser Induced Bias on Uranium Isotope Ratios", J. Anal. At. Spectrom., submitted, 2014. LLNL-JRNL-648449

Isselhardt, B.H., D.G. Willingham, M.R. Savina, K.B. Knight, I.D. Hutcheon, "Progress in the Development of RIMS for Quantifying Actinide Isotope Ratios for Nuclear Forensics Applications", INMM 54th Annual meeting conference proceedings, LLNL-PROC-638541, in press, 2013.

Cassata, W.S., Prussin, S.G., Knight, K.B., Hutcheon, I.D., Isselhardt, B.H., Renne, P.R., "When the dust settles: Applications of noble gases to nuclear forensic research", Anal. Chem., LLNL-JRNL-635800, in review, 2013.

Isselhardt, B. H., "Quantifying Uranium Isotope Ratios Using Resonance Ionization Mass Spectrometry: The Influence of Laser Parameters on Relative Ionization Probability", University of California, Berkeley, 2012

Isselhardt, B. H., Savina, M. R., Knight, K. B., Pellin, M. J., Hutcheon, I. D., and Prussin, S. G., "Improving Precision in Resonance Ionization Mass Spectrometry: Influence of Laser Bandwidth in Uranium Isotope Ratio Measurements", Anal. Chem., 2011, 83, 2469-2475

Knight, K. B., Savina, M. R., Isselhardt, B. H., Hutcheon, I. D., Prussin, S. G., and Pellin, M. J., "Uranium resonance ionization mass spectrometry in natural U-silicate", Proceedings in Radiochemistry, 2011, 1, 37-43

Levine, J., Savina, M., Dauphas, N., Davis, A., Isselhardt, B., Knight, K., Lewis, R., Pellin, M. & Stephan, T., First four-isotope measurements of chromium in presolar SiC grains, Lunar and Planetary Institute Science Conference Abstracts, 2009, 40, 1982

Daniel H. Chivers, Bethany F. Lyles Goldblum, Brett H. Isselhardt, Jonathan S. Snider, "Before the Day After: An Application of Nuclear Forensics to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism", Arms Control Today, July/August 2008


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