Available student project - Space radiation modelling

Research fields

  • Physics of the Nucleus
  • Astrophysics
Space radiation in Earth's magnetosphere originates from solar and galactic sources. Image: NASA/SOHO

Project details

Radiation is a major hazard in spaceflight.  Satellites may suffer a gradual reduction in their capabilities, including the performance of batteries, solar cells, and electronic components.  Single ion interactions in electronics (single event effects - SEE) may cause errors from memory bitflips to catastrophic, mission-ending failures. The dominant sources of radiation in space are protons and heavier ions, coming from the sun and galactic cosmic rays (GCR).  

The Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility (HIAF) at ANU is currently developing a capability for SEE testing in Australia, able to mimic radiation environments found in space. 

This project is anticipated to involve developing a model of the primary radiation (ion species, energy, flux, linear energy transfer(LET)) between low Earth and geostationary orbits for electrons, trapped protons, solar protons and heavy ions, and relating these environment to direct ground-based radiation testing methodology. The generated model could be compared to existing models and benchmarked to experimental test using HIAF or from literture data sets.

ANU is collaborating with Space Environment and Effects team of the Defence Science and Technology Group in this area. Candidates will be offered the opportunity to be jointly supervised by collaborators at DSTG, and scholarship top-up may be offered to strong candidates working on collaborative projects.

Required background

This project will involve computation, including development work using Geant4, a platform for the simulation of the passage of particles through matter using Monte Carlo methods.

Proficiency with coding is essential (Python/C++).

In addition to the project outlined above, other detector modeling projects in the realm of space radiation measurment are available.

Project suitability

This research project can be tailored to suit students of the following type(s)
  • 3rd year special project
  • Honours or MSc project
  • Phd or MPhil
  • Vacation scholar

Contact supervisor

Carter, Ian profile

Other supervisor(s)

Coombes, Ben profile

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