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ORTEC/AMETEK Lab Provides Upgraded Equipment, Enhanced Connection

For more than 60 years, the University of Tennessee’s Tickle College of Engineering and ORTEC have worked together to help educate future generations of leaders in the field. The relationship recently added another mutually beneficial component.

The college recently named a teaching lab in the department the ORTEC/AMETEK Nuclear Engineering Radiological Teaching Laboratory.

Advanced Measurement Technology, Inc. (AMETEK) in Oak Ridge committed to gift $100,000 to establish the AMETEK/ORTEC Nuclear Engineering Teaching Laboratory Endowment. The endowment supports technology purchases, including computer hardware and software for use by students and faculty, and fees for subscriptions, publications, and online databases. It includes assistance outfitting the lab with ORTEC equipment and other collaborations.

UT researchers have used ORTEC instruments since 1960 to identify novel solutions for nuclear medicine, clean energy, dark matter, and global nuclear threat reduction.

“ORTEC is very proud to have our brand associated with the Tickle College of Engineering and the nuclear engineering department in particular,” said ORTEC Product Manager Rob Burgin (BS nuclear ’09) “This is a fantastic state-of-the-art facility that can help educate some of the leading engineers of the future.”

ORTEC is an industry leader in the design and manufacture of ionizing radiation detectors, nuclear instrumentation, analysis software, and integrated systems. The company’s technologies, products, and services are instrumental in materials analysis for radioisotopic content.

AMETEK, Inc., the parent company of ORTEC, is a leading global manufacturer of electronic instruments and electromechanical devices with annual sales of approximately $5 billion.

UT needed to upgrade the equipment in the lab and had a large equipment order it needed to process. The collaboration with ORTEC/AMETEK allowed the department to fulfill its needs while getting deep discounts on the purchases. As part of the donation, ORTEC will be able to use the lab for training purposes during the summer.

“It was a much more impactful way to develop an alternative for naming rooms and really enter into a strong partnership that covers a student pipeline and training and mentorship,” Department of Nuclear Engineering Head Wes Hines said. “It just covers a lot more opportunity and brings value to both organizations in a much more fundamental way.”

NE Professor and Associate Head for Research and Facilities Eric Lukoski will be teaching a class in the lab during the spring semester.

“This partnership enabled us to purchase state-of-the-art digitizers that allow students to understand where the industry is moving,” Lukoski said. “While older equipment is more than capable for educational purposes and is good for student instruction, it doesn’t really teach them what people at the national labs are doing. Our ability to get these digitizers is going to bolster student educational outcomes and prepare them better for the job market.”

UT and ORTEC have already been working together on multiple projects, including updating the ready-made experiment kits that ORTEC sells across the world to physics and nuclear engineering classes. The kits needed to include more modern techniques, and Lukoski has been assisting in the process.

Given their proximity and longstanding connection, UT and AMETEK/ORTEC envision many more symbiotic alliances in the future.

“The great thing is every nuclear engineering student to come through that lab will be using ORTEC equipment and becoming familiar with our equipment and software,” Burgin said. “It also provides a great chance for collaborative research opportunities between the two that can expand our internships and co-ops and hopefully eventually lead to career with UT grads.”


Rhiannon Potkey (865-974-0683,