Precise knowledge of how protons and neutrons arrange themselves in atomic nuclei is essential to advance understanding of visible matter in the Universe. This requires meticulous measurement of their individual quantum orbits. Nucleon-transfer reactions, where a particle is transferred between an energetic ion and a stationary nucleus, are ideal for this purpose. Outgoing reaction products are measured and used as ‘fingerprints’ for understanding the properties of nuclear states populated in each reaction.
The ANU Enge Magnetic Spectrometer is currently being upgraded to do these experiments. A new specialised detector is being built, along with engineering upgrades that include rotating a 30-ton magnet without springing any vacuum leaks. Some of the new research topics will include: studying how fundamental forces evolve across chains of similar isotopes, unexpected nuclear shape changes, and exotic decay processes that may point to new physics beyond the ‘Standard Model’.
Student work, at the moment, would be largely based around instrumentation and software development, planning and executing early experiments, or analysing data from experiments performed overseas. Over time, opportunities will come up for students to take part in the calibrations and testing experiments with beams from the 14UD particle accelerator. Our students are also encouraged to contribute to the local research activities at the Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility. Projects can easily be tailored to suit the student’s level of experience, interests, and desired learning outcomes. We are happy to answer any questions you might have, and we’re keen to welcome new students into our research group.
No specific background knowledge is required, the best way to learn is by ‘doing’. This project will suit students who are curious about nuclear physics and enjoy solving puzzles.