Ions leaving target foils at high velocity are highly ionized. The electronic configurations of such ions can produce enormous “hyperfine” magnetic fields at the nucleus, which can be used to probe the magnetic field generated by the constituents of the nucleus. With modern atomic structure codes, there is a hope that these hyperfine magnetic fields can be calculated by first principles. If this hope is fulfilled new levels of precision will become possible in measurements of nuclear magnetism. Such measurements give insight into nuclear structure. There are exciting prospects for measurements on rare isotopes produced by the new radioactive beam accelerators internationally.
Recent attempts to perform ab initio calculations of free ion fields have met with some success, but cannot explain the ANU data shown in the figure, where Ge (Z=32) and Se (Z=34) ions emerge from carbon foils under the same conditions, but show different hyperfine fields. Students engaged in this project will help uncover the physics missing in the previous calculations. The project is related to our project on calculations of Auger electron spectra as it also uses the GRASP2K atomic structure code and Monte Carlo methods.
The outcome of the project will be an improved understanding of free-ion hyperfine fields for applications to measurements on nuclear magnetism and also an improved understanding of the processes that determine the charge state of an ion after electrons are stripped off by passage through a foil. Students will develop computational and modelling skills using sophisticated Fortran codes.