Atomic nuclei come in different shapes and sizes, but it is widely accepted that most are either spherical (like a soccer ball) or deformed (like a rugby ball). Until recently, certain features have been interpreted as surface vibrations. However, there is growing experimental evidence, including recent work of our PhD students, suggesting that this is not the case. If the vibrational model proves to be false, this will rewrite the nuclear physics textbooks and rock the foundations of nuclear theory.
A typical project will be based on performing experiments using the ANU 14UD particle accelerator, data analysis, and interpreting the results. New experimental capabilities in Coulomb-excitation and nucleon-transfer reactions are being developed at Australia’s Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility: Coulomb excitation exposes the shape and fluctuations of a quantum state, while transfer reactions give insight into its underlying structure.
This work will be undertaken with international collaborators and complementary measurements at international facilities may take place when overseas travel becomes feasible again. 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.