Available student project - Ultra-fast lifetime measurements of nuclear excited states

Research fields

  • Engineering in Physics
  • Physics of the Nucleus
Collective motion of a murmuraton of starlings. Menahem Kahana / AFP / Getty

Project details

Properties of a nucleus are mostly determined by nucleons at the surface, and they ways in which they move and interact with each other. Sometimes the nucleons behave like birds moving individually in a tree, while others move fluidly and like a murmuration of starlings (pictured). 

This project will investigate single-particle and collective behaviour in nuclei, and understand the transition between these two extreme modes. Lifetimes of excited states in a nucleus tell us directly about the underlying physics. These typically relax within femtoseconds, but sometimes 'physics reasons' slow the process. Our lanthanum bromide (LaBr3) detectors are capable of measuring lifetimes down to tens of picoseconds.

We have several researh programs connected to this project, such as testing the shell-model structure of nuclei near 208Pb, and the nature of the K quantum number in well-deformed nuclei.

A typical student project will use the 14UD particle accelerator to artificially create the nuclei we wish to study. You will study the gamma rays they emit, and use these as a fingerprint to figure out what the nucleus looks like, and compare the measured state lifetimes to theoretical models to interpret the experimental results. 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. 

Required background

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.

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
  • Vacation scholar

Contact supervisor

Lane, Gregory profile

Other supervisor(s)

Mitchell, AJ profile

Stuchbery, Andrew profile

Kibedi, Tibor profile

Updated:  18 September 2021/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPhys/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster