Available student project - Searching for the decay of the X17 neutral boson with a magnetic pair spectrometer

Research fields

  • Astrophysics
  • Physics of the Nucleus
The ANU superconducting pair spectrometer

Project details

Searching for new particles, which could help to find physics beyond the Standard Model is one of the highest priorities in fundamental science. A recent observation of an anomaly in the energy and angular correlation of electron-positron pairs of high-energy transitions in 4He and 8Be attracted a significant attention worldwide as it may signal the discovery of a new particle with a mass of 17 MeV. The particle is being called the X17. Electron-positron pair emission is a third-order electromagnetic transition in atomic nuclei. The reported observations of the X17 in a low energy nuclear physics laboratory used an array of scintillator detectors, which also detect the high energy gamma-rays as a possible background. This project is aiming to adapt the ANU pair spectrometer to check the X17 measurement. Regular nuclear pair transitions are emitted at relatively small separation angles between electrons and positrons. The observation of the pair decay of the hypothetical X17 particle requires the detection of electrons and positrons at much larger separation angles. The project will involve numerical simulations to examine various detector geometries to achieve optimal sensitivity for X17 detection.

Project suitability

This research project can be tailored to suit students of the following type(s)
  • 3rd year special project
  • PhB (2nd or 3rd year)
  • Honours project
  • Phd or Masters

Contact supervisor

Kibedi, Tibor profile

Other supervisor(s)

Stuchbery, Andrew profile

Updated:  4 September 2019/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPhys/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster