Available student project - Search for supernova-signatures on Earth

Research fields

  • Astrophysics
  • Physics of the Nucleus
Crab nebula - Supernova Remnant as Hubble Image

Project details

The core of a massive star collapses towards the end of its evolution. Such stars end their life in a supernova (SN) explosion. Dust formed in the ejecta of a SN contains freshly produced (radio-) nuclides and is entrained in the SN shell, which expands rapidly into the surrounding interstellar medium (ISM). A SN envelope in the vicinity of our solar system will intercept the Earth and may leave traces.

This project will search for supernova-produced nuclides to tackle the fundamental questions 'how were the heavy elements made' we observe on Earth today; where do galactic cosmic rays originate, and do supernovae produce the heavy elements in the r process? We will search for radionuclides trapped in cosmic dust particles entering the solar system and deposited over millions of years on Earth. Our focus is on anomalies in long-lived radionuclides. Their isotopic fingerprint mirrors on-going nucleosynthesis in massive stars and the galactic chemical evolution. We will refine the capabilities for accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) for measuring these nuclides at ultra-low concentrations utilizing the world-highest particle energies in AMS.

Project suitability

This research project can be tailored to suit students of the following type(s)
  • 3rd year special project
  • PhB (2nd or 3rd year)
  • Honours project
  • Phd or Masters

Contact supervisor

Wallner, Anton profile
Senior Fellow

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