Prof. Mahananda Dasgupta & Dr. Ian Carter
Department of Nuclear Physics
Interactions of energetic nuclei are key to life on earth, formation of elements, ionbeam cancer therapy, longevity of satellite functionality and space exploration. A large span of energies is encountered in these scenarios, enabling a range of physical phenomena to be studied. Nuclear reactions at energies near the Coulomb barrier between the two colliding nuclei are sensitively dependent on their quantum structure. Such reactions provide an excellent laboratory to study the dynamics of interacting quantum systems as nuclei are isolated from external environment. It is an area of current research at the ANU with concurrent advances in experimental and theoretical/computational work producing new results that challenge established understanding. We will discuss some of these aspects, focussing on recent experiments using the Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility.
At the other end of the energy scale are the energetic nuclei in space that can damage electronic components, causing satellites to fail, and pose a serious risk to space travel. A new space irradiation beamline, funded by the Australian Space Agency, is being developed at the Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility. This is the only accelerator in Australia that can provide the range of energetic nuclei required for space radiation tests. This new development will be discussed in the second part of this talk.
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