Atomic nuclei with excessive neutron numbers provide an important testing ground for nuclear-structure theory. They are also known to play significant roles in stellar nucleosynthesis and the decay heat of advanced fuel cycles for fission-power reactors. However, they are difficult to access experimentally and, as such, many important cases remain poorly studied.
Advances in radioactive-ion-beam production have opened pathways to discovery in these exotic nuclei. One approach is to extract fission fragments created by spontaneous decay of transuranic elements. By detecting the radiation emitted following beta decay of these unstable nuclides, we can build a detailed picture of how the excited nuclear states are interconnected, known as a level scheme. Features of the level scheme can be used to infer properties of the nucleus such as its shape and proton-neutron configurations that contribute to its structure.
The aim of this project is to advance understanding of atomic nuclei far from stability. The student will analyze recent data from the CARIBU radioactive ion-beam facility of Argonne National Laboratory (USA). Current topics of interest include investigation of Shell-Model properties in nuclei around the double shell closure at 132Sn, and dramatic nuclear shape changes in the A~100 region. Students will develop an understanding of how radioactive ion beams are created, time-correlated beta-gamma ray experimental techniques essential for their study, and computational skills necessary to process large multi-parameter data sets. They will also be encouraged to contribute to the local research activities of the Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility.