- Director, Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame
- Director, Energy Frontier Research Center Materials Science of Actinides
- Henry Massman Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences, University of Notre Dame
- Concurrent Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Notre Dame
- Professor of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences, University of Notre Dame
- Special Term Appointment, Chemistry Division, Argonne National Lab
- Massman Associate Professor of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences, University of Notre Dame
- Associate Professor of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences, University of Notre Dame
- Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences, University of Notre Dame
- Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Geology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
- NSERC Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of New Mexico
- NSERC Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge
- Ph.D. in Geology, University of Manitoba
- M.Sc. in Geology, University of Western Ontario
- B.Sc. in Geology with Honours, University of New Brunswick
- Peacock Medal of the Mineralogical Association of Canada
- Mineral burnsite named by Russian and Canadian scientists
- Mineralogical Society of America Award and Life Fellow
- Donath Medal of the Geological Society of America
- Young Scientist Medal of the Mineralogical Association of Canada
- Hawley Medal (best paper award) of the Mineralogical Association of Canada
Burns is Director of the Energy Frontier Research Center Materials Science of Actinides. This EFRC, which is funded by the Department of Energy, includes senior researchers and students at six universities and three national laboratories. The Center research emphasizes basic research in actinide chemistry and materials science to help create the foundation of knowledge needed for an advanced nuclear energy system of the future. The Center emphasizes complex actinide materials, the control of actinides at the nano-scale, and actinide materials under extreme environments of pressure, temperature, and radiation field.
Burnsâs research focuses on the solid state and environmental chemistry of heavy metals, especially actinides including uranium, neptunium and plutonium. Studies of natural crystals coupled with synthetic approaches are being used to develop the structural hierarchical relationships in actinide compounds. Aggregation of metals in solution, and subsequent crystallization of molecular clusters, is examined using conventional crystallographic techniques coupled with synchrotron X-ray scattering. Current emphasis includes studies of the structures and stabilities of uranium, thorium and plutonium clusters containing as many as 120 metal atoms. Much of this research is applied to nuclear waste disposal and understanding the mobility of actinides and heavy metals in the environment. The structures, compositions, stabilities, and thermochemistry of uranium compounds is studied in relation to the evolution of a geological repository for nuclear waste, as well as natural uranium deposits.
- Burns, P. C. "Complex minerals preserve natural geochemically important nanoscale metal oxide clusters" 2020 Acta crystallographica Section B, Structural science, crystal engineering and materials, 76 pp. 512-513. DOI:10.1107/S2052520620010045.
- Gilson, S. E., Fairley, M., Julien, P., Oliver, A. G., Hanna, S. L., Arntz, G., Farha, O. K., Laverne, J. A., Burns, P. C. "Unprecedented Radiation Resistant Thorium-Binaphthol Metal-Organic Framework" 2020 Journal of the American Chemical Society, 142 (31), pp. 13299-13304. DOI:10.1021/jacs.0c05272.
- Konevnik, Y. V., Zakharova, E. V., Shiryaev, A. A., Olds, T. A., Burns, P. C. "Mineral-specific heterogeneous neptunium sorption onto geological repository rocks in oxic and anoxic conditions and various temperatures" 2020 Chemical Geology, 545, 119654. DOI:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2020.119654.
- Xu, M., Eckard, P., Burns, P. C. "Organic Functionalization of Uranyl Peroxide Clusters to Impact Solubility" 2020 Inorganic Chemistry, 59 (14), pp. 9881-9888. DOI:10.1021/acs.inorgchem.0c01080.
- Zhang, L., Aksenov, S. M., Kokot, A. M., Perry, S. N., Olds, T. A., Burns, P. C. "Crystal Chemistry and Structural Complexity of Uranium(IV) Sulfates: Synthesis of U3H2(SO4)7(H2O)5·3H2O and U3(UO2)0.2(SO4)6(OH)0.4·2.3H2O with Framework Structures by the Photochemical Reduction of Uranyl" 2020 Inorganic Chemistry, 59 (9), pp. 5813-5817. DOI:10.1021/acs.inorgchem.0c00385.
- Zhang, L., Perry, S. N., Szymanowski, J. E. S., Sigmon, G. E., Burns, P. C. "Thermochemical studies of X(NpO2)(PO4)(H2O)3 (X = K+, Rb+), neptunium analogs of the autunite/meta-autunite group" 2020 Journal of Solid State Chemistry, 287, 121373. DOI:10.1016/j.jssc.2020.121373.
- Henry J. Massman Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences; Concurrent Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
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