Cao, Raymond


Dr. Lei Raymond Cao is Professor in the Nuclear Engineering Program at The Ohio State University (OSU). He also serves as the Director of OSU-Nuclear Reactor Lab (since 2016). Dr. Cao received his B.S. degree in experimental nuclear physics from Lanzhou University (1994), MS in nuclear physics from CIAE (2002), and Ph.D. from the nuclear and radiological engineering program at the University of Texas at Austin (2007). Prior to joining OSU in 2009, Dr. Cao was a research associate at the Positron Emission Tomography Lab at Harvard Medical School and then at the Center for Neutron Research, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) at Maryland.

Dr. Cao's research interests are radiation and sensors, with a particular focus on wide bandgap semiconductor radiation sensors such as SiC, GaN, and Ga2O3. He works on the applications of these sensors in harsh and extreme environments encountered in nuclear, space, and industrial settings. Additionally, Dr. Cao has been actively involved in studying radiation effects and the survivability of sensors.

Dr. Cao is one of the earlier researchers in the development of perovskite for X-ray and gamma-ray detection.

With extensive experiences working at four research reactors and serving as the director of the OSU Nuclear Reactor Lab for eight years, Dr. Cao is a recognized expert in the utilization of research reactors, such as instrumented in-core or near-core irradiation and testing of sensor and sensor materials under high temperature and high radiation field. He has applied neutron beam methods, such as Neutron Depth Profiling for characterizing lithium-ion batteries, Neutron Radiography and Tomography for advanced materials analysis, and Prompt Gamma Neutron Activation Analysis for trace elements analysis.

He has actively engaged in the development of nuclear batteries harnessing decay energy to provide long-term, maintenance-free power to microelectronics and IoT sensors.

Dr. Cao has published ~170 peer-reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings and a dozen patents. Dr. Cao is the Associate Editor (and Senior Editor for the special issue on Nuclear Batteries) at IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science and on the editorial board of Nuclear Science and Engineering. He is on the executive committee of the Isotope and Radiation Division (IRD) at the American Nuclear Society (ANS) and served as the IRD chair during 2015-2016.


  • WBG Semiconductor Radiation Sensor (e.g., perovskite, SiC, Gan, Ga2O3)

  • Nuclear Instrumentation

  • Radiation Effects and Survivability

  • Nuclear Voltaic Battery

  • Reactor and In-pile Instrumentation

  • Neutron Analytical Techniques (Neutron Depth Profiling for Li-ion Battery, PGNAA)

  • Neutron Radiography and Tomography