Manchester Nuclear Physics Consolidated Grant Request

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy

Abstract

Nuclear Physics aims to understand the structure and dynamics of nuclear systems. It is the key to understanding the Universe from the first microseconds of its inception when the quark-gluon plasma prevailed, through its history of star and galaxy formation where nuclear reactions play an essential role both in the generation of energy and the creation of elements. The field also has applications that benefit society in diverse areas, from medicine and security to power production, and a strong impact on other fields of science.

Atomic nuclei are a unique quantal laboratory in which microscopic as well as mesoscopic features, driven by effective two-body and three-body forces, can be studied. They are complex many-body systems, but often display unexpected regularities and simple excitation patterns that arise from underlying shell structure, pairing and collective modes of excitation. Such properties are also exhibited by simpler mesoscopic systems (for example, metallic clusters, quantum dots, and atomic condensates) the understanding of which draws heavily on techniques developed and honed in nuclear physics. A fundamental challenge is to understand nuclear properties ab-initio from the interplay of the strong, weak, and electromagnetic forces between individual nucleons. In recent years, enormous progress has been made with such programmes for light nuclei. For heavier nuclei, shell, cluster and other beyond mean field many-body techniques, based on effective interactions, provide essential frameworks for correlating experimental data, yet still lack the refinement to reliably predict nuclear properties as one moves more than a few nucleons from well-studied stable nuclei.

We plan to make measurements of transfer reactions, particle and gamma decays, state lifetimes, ground-state and isomer properties using lasers, and neutron-induced reactions to yield data with which to study the development of nuclear shapes, the evolution of nuclear structure in exotic isotopes and the reactions important for the s and r nucleosynthetic pathways.

We also aim to make connections between the interactions of nucleons and the underlying theory that describes the strong force, Quantum Chromodynamics. Key quantities are the polarisabilities that describe how the structures of nucleons respond to external electric and magnetic fields. We are developing theoretical tools to determine these from experiments on the scattering of photons from hydrogen and other light nuclei. The latter are needed to learn about the the properties of the neutron since it is an unstable particle, and are also interesting for the testing of nuclear forces in few-body systems and for the calculation of muonic atom Lamb shifts.

See the Case for Support for more details about the proposed research.

Planned Impact

Trained manpower at postgraduate and postdoctoral levels is in great demand in nuclear, software and instrumentation industries. Young scientists trained within academic nuclear physics are the only source of independent expertise in areas concerning radioactivity and radiation detection. The importance of this expertise can only increase in the future as the UK moves into its new nuclear build programme. The Nuclear Industrial Strategy recognises the key enablers will be an increase in nuclear R&D and development of nuclear skills. Handling and disposal of nuclear wastes, reactor decommissioning and advanced reactor designs will become even more important issues in society. The research undertaken will also directly inform the teaching of undergraduates at Manchester who will benefit from advanced courses involving examples from topical, current research issues.
Since nuclear physics is the fundamental science underpinning the nuclear sector, our expertise developed in research projects such as these allows us to host for two major postgraduate training programmes: the Coordinating Centre for NTEC (Nuclear Technology Education Consortium involving 8 UK universities providing Masters-level courses to the nuclear industry) and the EPSRC Industrial Doctorate Centre for Nuclear Engineering (a consortium of 8 universities). We deliver core and options modules for NTEC, and we are quickly expanding other KT activities (eg IAEA MSc course in nuclear security; leading involvement in a European project to design nuclear safety culture courses across the European nuclear sector; and nuclear codes training courses).
All members of the group, including academics, research fellows, PDRAs and PhD students, undertake public engagement activities. The members of the academic staff have a strong track record in outreach and have built up experience and a good reputation that can be used to good effect; research staff and students are less experienced, yet highly committed, and training is encouraged. Through our participation in the Dalton Nuclear Institute, we collaborate with a number of local and national institutions as well. Dr John Roberts, a Nuclear Fellow partly-funded by our Group's income from education & training courses, is a member of the Nuclear Physics Group and coordinates our activities in this area. For example, we are running an annual course on nuclear energy for KS4 pupils. In collaboration with other UK nuclear physics groups, we organise an annual Teach the Teachers workshop that covers nuclear energy, nuclear medicine and nuclear physics. Dr Roberts lectures to teachers on The Prince's Teaching Institute's Subject Days and these are very well received by the participants. Members of the group are also active in various CERN-based public engagement activities.
Group members have also been able to influence UK and International Policy on nuclear related issues via participation in select committee activities and by representing the UK at a variety of international meetings related to the nuclear industry and skills.
Nuclear data and technological expertise in the group will be used to make measurements relevant to the nuclear industry by improving a variety of important nuclear cross sections. This will feed into the Joint European Fission-Fusion database, used throughout the nuclear industry to improve safety and economics of current and future operations, and of the design of advanced reactors and geological disposal facilities.
Group members are involved in several projects to improve SPECT imaging at the Christie hospital, with potential to commission commercial software. The group has supported medical research using short-lived positron emitters at the Wolfson Medical Imaging Centre, by joint supervision of MPhys and MSc students.
See Pathways to Impact for more details.

Publications

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Acosta-Gonzaga E (2017) The role of attitudinal factors in mathematical on-line assessments: a study of undergraduate STEM students in Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education

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Barbagallo M (2018) Experimental setup and procedure for the measurement of the 7Be(n,p)7Li reaction at n_TOF in Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment

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Barber L (2019) Performing the differential decay curve method on ? -ray transitions with unresolved Doppler-shifted components in Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment

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Brown R (2018) Edge Modes and Nonlocal Conductance in Graphene Superlattices. in Physical review letters

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Cubiss J (2018) Charge radii and electromagnetic moments of At 195 - 211 in Physical Review C

 
Description Argonne National Laboratory 
Organisation Argonne National Laboratory
Department Physics Division
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Intellectual input, performing experiments, data analysis, writing publications
Collaborator Contribution Facility provision and intellectual input
Impact Publications.
 
Description CRIS Collaboration 
Organisation University of Leuven
Department Institute for Nuclear and Radiation Physics
Country Belgium 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have designed and constructed the beam line and laser laboratory. We developed new techniques and designed equipment upgrades. We have provided staff and equipment.
Collaborator Contribution They have provided funding for equipment and manpower.
Impact See publication list.
Start Year 2010
 
Description HELIOS 
Organisation Argonne National Laboratory
Department Physics Division
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Gas detector system and electronics, intellectual input
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input, silicon detector arrays, electronics
Impact Publications
 
Description HELIOS 
Organisation Western Michigan University
Department Department of Physics
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Gas detector system and electronics, intellectual input
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input, silicon detector arrays, electronics
Impact Publications
 
Description ISOLDE 
Organisation European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)
Department ISOLDE Radioactive Ion Beam Facility
Country Switzerland 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Scientific ideas and planning
Collaborator Contribution Scientific ideas and planning
Impact Continuing scientific collaboration in potential future projects.
Start Year 2007
 
Description Jyvaskyla 
Organisation University of Jyvaskyla
Department Accelerator Laboratory
Country Finland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Intellectual input - apparatus.
Collaborator Contribution Facility provision / beam time
Impact Academic outputs
 
Description STFC Daresbury 
Organisation Daresbury Laboratory
Department Nuclear Physics Support Group
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Detector development
Collaborator Contribution Joint grant application, electronics and daq, target manufacture.
Impact Publications. Equipment production.
 
Description TUM 
Organisation Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU Munich)
Department Faculty of Physics
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Physics ideas, analysis, writing papers.
Collaborator Contribution Beam time, access to experimental facilities.
Impact Research papers
Start Year 2011
 
Description TUM 
Organisation Technical University of Munich
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Physics ideas, analysis, writing papers.
Collaborator Contribution Beam time, access to experimental facilities.
Impact Research papers
Start Year 2011
 
Company Name Artemis Analytical 
Description This is a company setup with UMIP to begin the process of taking our research at CERN to market. The company's focus is providing an analysis service for carbon dating of modern and ancient samples. The key methodology is based on techniques developed during the fellowship that have been subsequently further enhanced at the University of Manchester to make them competitive within this sector. 
Year Established 2016 
Impact The company has yet to start trading. At the moment we have filed two patents to protect inventions that built on research at CERN during the fellowship. The company is in the process of securing its IP position, conducting market research and structural planning and seeking equity investment. It is hoped to start trading in 2018.