The Nuclear Structure research group in the Department of Nuclear Physics has a strong program involving experiments performed locally and at international facilities.
Particle detection plays an increasingly important role in our research, either as a means of selecting the reaction channel of interest, or by providing critical information that characterises nuclear processes. We have been developing novel particle detectors with new types of scintillator, including LYSO (Lu1.8Y0.2SiO5:Ce,) and GAGG (Gadolinium Aluminium Gallium Garnet, Gd3Al2Ga3O12). An important innovation is the use of silicon photomultipliers that enable exceptionally compact detector systems.
Projects are available working on the design and development of novel detectors, characterisation of their properties, and implementation of the detectors for new nuclear structure research concepts. Longer projects will lead to making measurements that use the detectors to probe nuclear structure. Some of the new developments we are currently working on include:
- A particle detector system to fit within the CAESAR gamma-ray detector array for clean selection of specific reaction channels that involve charged-particle emission.
- An array of detectors to image the distribution of recoiling reaction products and hence optimise experiments performed with the Solenogam spectrometer
- Charged particle detectors to identify Coulomb excitation processes in experiments that measure lifetimes with a new recoil-plunger device.
A typical project will involve hands-on work making new detectors, integrating the detectors into a digital data acquisition, testing the detectors with radioactive sources and/or beams from the 14UD accelerator, and developing computational tools to analyse the signals and optimise the detector operation.