There are several areas of Environmental Physics Research at RSPhysSE.
Accelerator Mass Spectrometry is a highly sensitive technique for identifying and quantifying minute traces of isotopes. At RSPhysSE we have adapted this technique to study the propagation of plutonium in the environment following accidents and past bad practice at various nuclear plants around the world. The advantage of AMS is that it is able to determine isotope ratios in samples with extremely small concentrations of plutonium. By knowing the isotope ratios it is possible to identify not only the nuclear plant responsible for contaminations but also in many cases how radioactive release into the environment took place. This is important both for policing and also in recommendation of the most appropriate strategy for clean up.
Atmospheric Physics. In order to properly understand the processes related to ozone formation and depletion, it is necessary have a good understanding of how ultraviolet light interacts with oxygen molecules. Atmospheric physics research at RSPhysSE focuses on the development and application of widely tuneable coherent sources of vacuum ultraviolet light and their application to the study of photo-dissociation dynamics. There are also close analogies between magnetically confined plasmas and planetary atmospheres, where the Coriolis force plays the role of the magnetic field. The Energetically Open Systems Group is engaged in a formal collaboration with CSIRO Atmospheric Research to further increase our understanding of the complex dynamics of both turbulent plasmas and atmospheres.
Selected research highlights
Potential student research projects
You could be doing your own research into fusion and plasma confinement. Below are some examples of student physics research projects available in RSPE.
Please browse our full list of available physics research projects to find a project that interests you.
Laboratory measurement of turbulent flows and numberical analysis of the statistical properties of the flows
When fluids flow through porous rocks, the relatively slow bulk fluid front advances via a series of very small, very rapid jumps. This project investigates how the distribution and occurance of these jumps are influenced by experimental conditions such as flow rate and intermittentcy.
This project will use the powerful 14UD particle accelerator to study the process of 'Coulomb explosion' of fast molecular ions in a foil or gas. The experimental results will be compared with a simple analytical model.
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, ...).