About Us


We strive for excellence in scientific research performed with integrity to positively impact society.


We act with respect and humility to create an environment where everyone feels valued and included.


We foster a collaborative and safe environment where everyone takes responsibility and is held accountable.

The Detection for Nuclear Nonproliferation Group (DNNG) was founded in 2008 by Prof. Sara A. Pozzi at the University of Michigan. The group develops new methods for nuclear materials identification and characterization for nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear material control and accountability, and national security programs. These activities have applications in many areas including homeland security, medical imaging, and nuclear fuel cycle monitoring. The DNNG is fully committed to the education and professional development of undergraduate and graduate students. Our research has strong ties to nuclear physics and mathematics, which are always at the basis of our contributions. We collaborate with the national laboratories, industry, and other academic institutions. We have graduated 17 PhD students and our students have successfully transitioned to careers at the national laboratories, academia, and industry.

DNNG developed the MCNPX-PoliMi code, which simulates the full statistics of neutrons and photons from fission and other interactions. Monte Carlo simulations are frequently used in the field of nuclear engineering. Simulations enable planning of new experiments and the optimization of system designs. With the continuing improvement in computation time, simulations have become an important tool for research.

Understanding the physics of nuclear fission reactions is crucial in all areas of nuclear engineering. A better understanding of the complex emissions following nuclear fission reactions allows for the development of new systems for the detection and characterization of special nuclear material. DNNG, in collaboration with the CVT, aims to design experiments to measure higher-order signatures from fission reactions to validate nuclear theory and current simulation models. 

Robust characterization of scintillation detectors is significant for system design optimization and simulations of detector response. DNNG research for scintillation detectors involves characterizing the material properties (e.g. light output, anisotropic response, etc.), readout systems, and novel techniques to improve current pulse-shape discrimination (PSD) performance.

The DNNG is developing new tools and techniques for the detection and characterization of special nuclear material (SNM) such as uranium and plutonium, and typical radioactive sources such as spontaneous fission and (alpha, n) sources. The detection and characterization of uranium requires active interrogation techniques. We use a 9-MeV electron linear accelerator to generate Bremsstrahlung gamma rays that can penetrate shielding to induce photofission in the actinides, including uranium. This approach enables detection of shielded highly enriched uranium, a major challenge in the nuclear security arena.