Harnessing the energy held in nuclear isomers may lead to revolutionary development of energy-storage capacity and future power needs. However, this requires precise knowledge of the complex decay mechanisms that are available within the nucleus. This project enables study of the internal nuclear structure of prime candidates for this potential ultra-high-density energy source, and may provide the roadmap by which this capability is made accessible.
Releasing the energy held in an isomer on demand is technically challenging. One mechanism for doing so is known as `nuclear excitation by electron capture’ (NEEC). To date, NEEC has only been confirmed in one case: 93Mo. A second candidate, 127Cs, is subject to current theoretical and experimental investigation. This project will focus on detailed study of excited states that exist around the 55-microsecond isomer in 127Cs, measurement of their lifetimes, and identification of the gamma-decay pathways that exist in this nucleus. An experiment will be performed with the 14UD particle accelerator and CAESAR array of high-purity germanium and ultra-fast lanthanum bromide gamma-ray detectors. 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.