University of Florida engineering professor recognized with 'Oscar of Innovation'

Category:Engineering, Research, Technology

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Kelly Jordan, assistant professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Florida, has been recognized for his role in developing one of the top 100 technology products of the year.

Jordan and collaborators at Adelphi Technology Inc. have been recognized for their “High Flux Neutron Source” beam instruments in this year’s R&D 100 Awards. R&D Magazine has covered research and development news for scientists and engineers for more than 50 years. Known as “the Oscars of Innovation,” the R&D 100 Awards identify revolutionary technologies from a wide range of industries, including telecommunications, optics, high-energy physics, materials science, chemistry and biotechnology. They have spanned industry, academia and government-sponsored research.

Jordan specializes in nuclear security — making sure potentially dangerous materials can be easily identified and safeguarded — as well as in radiation detection and nonproliferation. He received his doctorate in nuclear engineering from University of California, Berkeley in 2006 and worked as a reactor physicist at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland until he came to UF in 2011. In addition to teaching, he serves as the director of the University of Florida Training Reactor.

The award-winning DD-109X is a microwave-driven neutron generator that provides high fluxes of fast neutrons to small samples of nuclear materials. This is useful for identifying the composition of nuclear materials. Jordan compares the technology leap to a scenario where airport security have for many years tried to determine if passengers’ shoes pose a public safety risk, and then suddenly they receive a body scanner.

“You can’t just sweep your finger across [nuclear materials] and taste them to figure out what they are. You can’t even lift the lid and look at them. This is a technology that simplifies how we are able to identify a very complex substance,” Jordan said.

Those who keep tabs on the world’s supplies of plutonium and uranium will find the DD-109X — and the technology it harnesses, makes the job of identifying these substances a lot easier.

“This is a remarkable instrument for nuclear security as evidenced by recognition as an R&D 100 award recipient,” said David Norton, UF’s vice president for research. “Dr. Jordan’s innovative contributions are significant for UF and the U.S. nuclear engineering community. This award reflects most positively on Dr. Jordan’s research and the UF nuclear engineering program.”

Other technologies recognized by the magazine this year include an electron microscope capable of recording movies, a device that harnesses power from viruses, a robotic glove and an underwater vehicle that can operate both with and without a human crew. In addition to UF, this year’s list of innovators represent several of NASA’s research centers, Argonne National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and many other top research facilities.

Winners will be recognized at the R&D 100 Awards Banquet on Nov. 7 in Orlando. The full list of this year’s winners is available at


Jen Ambrose
Kelly Jordan,

Category:Engineering, Research, Technology