Potential student research projects

The Research School of Physics & Engineering performs research at the cutting edge of a wide range of disciplines.

By undertaking your own research project at RSPE you could open up an exciting career in science.


Physics of the Nucleus

How to create new super-heavy elements

Superheavy elements can only be created in the laboratory by the fusion of two massive nuclei. Our measurements give the clearest information on the characteristics and timescales of quasifission, the major competitor to fusion in these reactions.

Professor David Hinde, Dr Elizabeth Williams, Dr Cédric Simenel

Search for supernova-signatures on Earth

Detection of supernova‐produced (radio)nuclides in terrestrial archives gives insight into massive star nucleosynthesis; when and where are heavy elements formed. Direct observation of radioactive nuclides from stars and the interstellar medium would provide first experimental constraints on production rate.s We will use the most sensitive technique, accelerator mass spectrometry.

Dr Anton Wallner

Effect on fission in deep-inelastic and transfer reactions for actinide targets

The main question that will be addressed in this project is: whether sequential fission following deep-inelastic and transfer reactions on heavy actinides populates higher-spin states in more neutron-rich isotopes compared to spontaneous fission. Data from Gammasphere experiments with heavy-actinide targets will be used for this study.

Dr Sankha Hota, Dr Gregory Lane, Dr Matthew Reed, Professor Andrew Stuchbery

Measuring free-ion hyperfine fields

This experimental project will characterize the hyperfine fields of ions emerging from target foils as highly charged ions. The data will test theoretical models we are developing, and underpin nuclear magnetism measurements on rare isotopes produced at international radioactive beam facilities such as GANIL (France), ISOLDE-CERN (Switzerland) and NSCL (USA).

Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Tibor Kibedi, Dr Gregory Lane, Dr Matthew Reed

Time correlated gamma-ray coincidence spectroscopy with the CAESAR detector array

Investigate the structure of atomic nuclei by building up the spectrum of excited states using time-correlated, gamma-ray coincidence spectroscopy.

Dr Gregory Lane, Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Matthew Reed, Dr Sankha Hota

Quantum tunnelling and decoherence in nuclear collisions

This research project, with both experimental and theoretical angles, is creating a new perspective on reversibility and irreversibility in nuclear interactions.

Dr Cédric Simenel, Professor Mahananda Dasgupta, Dr Edward Simpson, Professor David Hinde

Reactions of weakly-bound and exotic radioactive nuclei

We are developing Austalia's first high energy radioactive beam capability, and now have the world's best capability to reconstruct breakup into charged fragments

Professor Mahananda Dasgupta, Professor David Hinde, Dr Duc Huy Luong

Nuclear lifetimes – Doppler broadened line shape method

The measurement of the lifetimes of excited nuclear states is foundational for understanding nuclear excitations. This project will solve a current puzzle in nuclear lifetime measurements based on the Doppler-broadened line shape method and also develop a generalized analysis program for such measurements.

Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Tibor Kibedi, Dr Gregory Lane

The pair conversion decay of the Hoyle state

The triple–alpha reaction leading to the formation of stable carbon in the Universe is one of the most important nuclear astrophysical processes.  This project is aiming to improve our knowledge of the triple-alpha reaction rate from the direct observation of the electron-positron pair decays of the Hoyle state in 12C.

Dr Tibor Kibedi, Professor Andrew Stuchbery

Quantum vibrations in atomic nuclei

Atomic nuclei exhibit collective vibrations with various shapes which obey quantum mechanics. The study of these vibrations is fundamental to understand quantum many-body dynamics. 

Dr Cédric Simenel

Prompt and isomeric yields in deep-inelastic and transfer reactions

Isotopic yield will be measured for deep-inelastic and transfer reactions which is used to populate neutron-rich isotopes in the A ~ 186 mass region. Experimental data from neutron-rich 186W, 187Re, and 192Os target with a 136Xe beam will be used and compared with available calculations.

Dr Sankha Hota, Dr Gregory Lane, Dr Matthew Reed, Professor Andrew Stuchbery

Measuring exotic long-lived nuclear states in storage rings

The project aims to examine the heavy neutron-rich region of the nuclear chart. Currently, these nuclides are poorly studied, giving scope for investigations into the region. Analysing a current data set the project proposes to use Schottky Mass Spectrometry for direct mass measurements of nuclear isomeric states proving Einstein's E=mc2.

Dr Matthew Reed, Dr Gregory Lane, Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Sankha Hota

Nuclear lifetimes – direct timing with LaBr3 detectors

The lifetimes of excited quantum states in the atomic nucleus give extremely important information about nuclear structure and the shape of the nucleus. This project will commission a new array of of LaBr3 detectors to measure nuclear lifetimes, with the aim to replace conventional analog electronics with digital signal processing.

Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Matthew Reed, Dr Gregory Lane, Dr Tibor Kibedi

Transferring quantum particles

When two composite objects (molecules, atoms, atomic nuclei...) collide, they may transfer particles. Understanding how this transfer occurs in quantum mechanics is an important challenge in quantum physics. 

Dr Cédric Simenel, Dr Edward Simpson

Crucial fundamental nuclear data for nuclear fusion and nuclear fission

Nuclear data are urgently required in national security, non-proliferation, nuclear criticality safety, medical applications, fundamental science and for the design of advanced reactor concepts (fusion, e.g. ITER), or next generation nuclear power plants (Gen IV, accelerator driven systems, ...).

Dr Anton Wallner

Selective gating on sum-energy – multiplicity spectra to eliminate backgrounds in Gammasphere data.

Using selective sum-energy – multiplicity (H-K) gating peak to background ratio can be significantly improved in Gammasphere data. This technique will be used to search for weak gamma rays in the data from radioactive actinide targets.

Dr Sankha Hota, Dr Gregory Lane, Dr Matthew Reed, Professor Andrew Stuchbery

Theory of nuclear fission

Heavy atomic nuclei may fission in lighter fragments, releasing a large amount of energy which is used in reactors. Advanced models of many-body quantum dynamics are developed and used to describe this process.

Dr Cédric Simenel

Nucleosynthesis in the laboratory - how elements are formed in stars

A fundamental scientific question is a better understanding of the elemental abundances and the isotopic pattern of our solar system which is a fingerprint of stellar nucleosynthesis. We perform nucleosynthesis in the laboratory at the ANU via a new and powerful tool, accelerator mass spectrometry, to elucidate open questions in these processes.

Dr Anton Wallner

Nuclear magnetism – magnetic moment measurements

A novel technique devised at ANU has recently given a breakthrough in the precision with which the magnetic moments of picosecond-lived excited states in sd-shell nuclei (i.e. isotopes of oxygen through to calcium) may be measured. A sequence of precise measurements will be performed to comprehensively test the shell model.

Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Tibor Kibedi, Dr Gregory Lane, Dr Matthew Reed

Modelling free-ion hyperfine fields

Motivated by exciting prospects for measurements of the magnetism of rare isotopes produced by the new radioactive beam accelerators internationally, this computational project seeks to understand the enormous magnetic fields produced at the nucleus of highly charged ions by their atomic electron configuration.

Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Tibor Kibedi, Mr Boon Quan Lee

Auger-cascade modelling for targeted cancer therapy

The emission rate of low-energy Auger electrons and X-rays from radiosotopes through the Auger cascade are extremely important for basic science and applications, especially for medical isotopes. The project is aiming to understand the nature of the Auger cascade and develop a new computational model of it for the research in targeted radioisotopes therapy.

Mr Boon Quan Lee, Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Tibor Kibedi

Structure of exotic nuclei far from stability studied with the SOLENOGAM spectrometer

SOLENOGAM is a new spectrometer optimised for electron and gamma-ray spectroscopy of difficult to populate nuclei that are far from stability. It will be used to investigate a variety of nuclear phenomena through coincidence spectroscopy and the measurement of internal conversion coefficients. 

Dr Gregory Lane, Dr Tibor Kibedi, Dr Matthew Reed, Dr Sankha Hota

Nuclear collisions to probe zeptosecond quantum dynamics of the femtoworld

Fundamental concepts of quantum physics (tunnelling, entanglement, decoherence, dissipation...) are investigated in the framework of nuclear dynamics using state of the art theoretical simulation tools.  

Dr Cédric Simenel

Updated:  3 February 2015/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPE/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster