Nuclear Physics Consolidated Grant

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: Physics

Abstract

The majority of the visible mass of the universe is made up of atomic nuclei that lie at the centre of atoms. Nuclear physics seeks to answer fundamental questions such as: "How do the laws of physics work when driven to the extremes? What are the fundamental constituents and fabric of the universe and how do they interact? How did the universe begin and how is it evolving? What is the nature of nuclear and hadronic matter?" The aim of our research is to study the properties of atomic nuclei and to measure the properties of hot nuclear matter in order to answer these questions. No one yet knows how heavy a nucleus can be; in other words, just how many neutrons and protons can be made to bind together. We will study the heaviest nuclei that can be made in the laboratory and determine their properties which will allow better predictions to be made for the "superheavies". For lighter nuclei we will explore in the region of the proton and neutron drip lines, which are the borders between bound and unbound nuclei. We will determine more precisely than ever before the location of these drip lines. Nuclei beyond the proton drip line have so much electrical charge that they are highly unstable and try to achieve greater stability through the process of proton emission. We will investigate how nuclear behaviour is affected when protons become unbound.
For these exotic systems we will also explore how the nucleus prefers to rearrange its shape, which can be a sphere, rugby ball, pear, etc. and how it stores its energy among the possible degrees of freedom. We will also investigate how the properties of these nuclei develop as we make them spin faster and faster. We will try to determine the precise nature of ultra high spin states in heavy nuclei, just before the nucleus breaks up due to fission. By violently removing a nucleon from a nucleus in a nuclear reaction at high energies and measuring its properties, we can investigate to what extent the nucleon "feels" the influence of its neighbouring nucleons, whether it is correlated with them. Such information tells us about the nuclear force inside the nucleus at different inter-nucleon distances. Nuclear matter can exist in different phases, analogous to the solid, liquid, gas and plasma phases in ordinary substances. By varying the temperature, density or pressure, nuclear matter can undergo a transition from one phase to another. In extreme conditions of density and temperature (about 100 thousands times more than the temperature at the heart of the sun!), a phase transition should occur and quarks and gluons (of which the protons and neutrons are made of) should exist in a new state of matter called the Quark-Gluon Plasma. By colliding nuclei together at high energies at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, we will study properties of this new state of matter. Such information is not only important for nuclear physics but also to understand neutron stars and other compact astrophysical objects.
This programme of research will employ a large variety of experimental methods to probe many aspects of nuclear structure and the phases of strongly interacting matter, mostly using instrumentation that we have constructed at several world-leading accelerator laboratories. The work will require a series of related experiments at a range of facilities in order for us to gain an insight into the answers to the questions posed above. These experiments will help theorists to refine and test their calculations that have attempted to predict the properties of nuclei and nuclear matter, often with widely differing results. The resolution of this problem will help us to describe complex many-body nuclear systems and better understand conditions in our universe a few fractions of a second after the big bang.

Planned Impact

Nuclear physics research and technology development has had a huge beneficial influence in our Society. Through low-carbon energy production, radiation detection for national security or environmental monitoring and cancer diagnosis and treatment in modern healthcare, the applications emerging from nuclear physics are numerous.

Recent high-profile scientific discoveries include:
- The confirmation of the existence of the superheavy chemical element 117, which was an APS top 10 physics news story in 2014. In collaboration with Lund and GSI, researchers from Liverpool demonstrated a way to identify new elements directly. This led to element 117 being named tennessine in 2016.
- ISOLDE was used to study the shape of the short-lived isotopes 220Rn and 224Ra. The data show that while 224Ra is pear shaped, 220Rn vibrates about this shape. The results of the Liverpool-led measurements, that also have implications for atomic EDM measurements, was selected as a top 10 breakthrough in physics by Physics World in 2013 and continues to receive strong interest from the media world-wide.
- The work at ultra-high spin in nuclei has been cited as one of the Science highlights of 2013 and in the major 2012 decadal report "Nuclear Physics: Exploring the Heart of Matter" and more recently as an article in the journal celebrating the Bohr, Mottelson and Rainwater Nobel prize.
- The ALICE measurement of the mass difference between 2H/anti-2H and 3He/anti-3He nuclei was published in Nature with a video summary and received attention in the international news media. Article metrics show that this paper was in the top 1% for online attention.

The University of Liverpool has significant industrial engagement programmes that support knowledge exchange and the development of future REF returnable impact cases with a focus on nuclear measurement techniques and instrumentation. Industrial collaborators include AWE, Canberra, Kromek, Ametek, John Caunt Scientific, Metropolitan Police, MoD, National Nuclear Laboratory, Rapiscan, Sellafield Ltd. and a large number of NHS Trusts.

The University Department of Physics is one of only three national training providers for the Modernising Scientific Careers Clinical Science (Medical Physics) MSc, funded by the NHS. This provides a unique opportunity to build collaborative research and Continuing Professional Development partnerships within the Healthcare sector.

Beyond satisfying human curiosity around the workings of nature, pure research in nuclear physics has also tremendous societal impact. The University of Liverpool has an excellent track record in public engagement and outreach in a subject that has a natural fascination for the public. Indeed, it fulfils the important role of educating the public in nuclear radiation and its wider aspects, both positive and negative and is important to drive interest in the study of STEM subjects. Nuclear Physicists are frequently invited to share their knowledge and talk about their research at schools, science festivals and community groups.

The University of Liverpool hosts the state-of-the-art Central Teaching Laboratory (CTL) facility. The CTL has a dedicated laboratory for Nuclear Physics and radiation measurements and schools and outreach activities will be held on a regular basis with University support. In November 2016 the CTL will host a Science Jamboree for 300 Cubs, Beavers and Brownies. We also plan a family day in the CTL with the aim of improving knowledge of both nuclear physics research and applications in energy, security and healthcare.

The Liverpool group has an extensive list of media interactions. In particular Professor Butler and Dr Harkness-Brennan have contributed to BBC TV and Radio broadcasts and have recorded Podcasts and other online resources for public engagement. The ALICE experiment featured prominently in the recent BBC production presented by Jim Al-Khalili on The Beginning and End on the Universe.

Publications

10 25 50

 
Description NuPECC
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact The NuPECC Long Range Plan for all aspects of Nuclear Physics was published in 2017. NuPECC's mission is "to provide advice and make recommendations on the development, organisation, and support of European nuclear research and of particular projects." The report features the recommendations of NuPECC for the development of nuclear physics research in Europe followed by a comprehensive chapter on large and smaller facilities, existing, under construction or planned. The report has been discussed with national funding agencies by the NuPECC task force to foster awareness and good alignment of the research portfolios.
URL http://www.nupecc.org/pub/lrp17/lrp2017.pdf
 
Description AIDA 
Organisation Daresbury Laboratory
Department Nuclear Physics Support Group
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Overall design specification, testing and systems integration.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual contributions to this research and development project, particularly in the ASIC design.
Impact Development of the Advanced Implantation Detector Array (AIDA) for experimental research programmes at GSI/FAIR.
Start Year 2007
 
Description AIDA 
Organisation Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Overall design specification, testing and systems integration.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual contributions to this research and development project, particularly in the ASIC design.
Impact Development of the Advanced Implantation Detector Array (AIDA) for experimental research programmes at GSI/FAIR.
Start Year 2007
 
Description AIDA 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Department School of Physics and Astronomy
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Overall design specification, testing and systems integration.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual contributions to this research and development project, particularly in the ASIC design.
Impact Development of the Advanced Implantation Detector Array (AIDA) for experimental research programmes at GSI/FAIR.
Start Year 2007
 
Description ALICE Collaboration 
Organisation European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)
Department ALICE Collaboration
Country Switzerland 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Data analysis of LHC data from Run1 and Run2 (heavy-flavour physics working group). ITS upgrade project: Monte Carlo simulations, construction of modules and staves for the Outer Barrel. Supervision of UG and PhD student projects. Meetings of ALICE-UK research groups (Univ. of Birmingham, Univ. of Liverpool, STFC Daresbury). Presentations at conferences, meetings and workshops.
Collaborator Contribution Access to beam time, data, GRID and other CERN infrastructure and resources, ALICE collaboration international network etc.
Impact Publications. Training of UG and PhD students and research staff. Invitations to speak at meetings, workshops, conferences.
Start Year 2012
 
Description COLLAPS, ISOLDE Laser Spectroscopy 
Organisation Catholic University of Louvain
Country Belgium 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Proposal and running of experiments. Contribution to equipment and consumables costs.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of laboratory apparatus and expertise.
Impact Active experiments directly related to the research proposal have been approved by the local Programme Advisory Committee. The experimental apparatus required and accelerator beam time have been made available. Several publications have been published or are in preparation.
Start Year 2013
 
Description COLLAPS, ISOLDE Laser Spectroscopy 
Organisation European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)
Department CERN - ISOLDE
Country Switzerland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Proposal and running of experiments. Contribution to equipment and consumables costs.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of laboratory apparatus and expertise.
Impact Active experiments directly related to the research proposal have been approved by the local Programme Advisory Committee. The experimental apparatus required and accelerator beam time have been made available. Several publications have been published or are in preparation.
Start Year 2013
 
Description COLLAPS, ISOLDE Laser Spectroscopy 
Organisation Heidelberg University
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Proposal and running of experiments. Contribution to equipment and consumables costs.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of laboratory apparatus and expertise.
Impact Active experiments directly related to the research proposal have been approved by the local Programme Advisory Committee. The experimental apparatus required and accelerator beam time have been made available. Several publications have been published or are in preparation.
Start Year 2013
 
Description COLLAPS, ISOLDE Laser Spectroscopy 
Organisation Technical University of Darmstadt
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Proposal and running of experiments. Contribution to equipment and consumables costs.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of laboratory apparatus and expertise.
Impact Active experiments directly related to the research proposal have been approved by the local Programme Advisory Committee. The experimental apparatus required and accelerator beam time have been made available. Several publications have been published or are in preparation.
Start Year 2013
 
Description GREAT 
Organisation University of Jyvaskyla
Country Finland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Led design and construction of GREAT. Spokesperson for many experiments.
Collaborator Contribution Contributions to design & constraction of GREAT. Experimental collaborators.
Impact Many publications.
 
Description GREAT collaboration 
Organisation University of Jyvaskyla
Department Department of Physics
Country Finland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Constructed GREAT spectrometer and TDR DAQ system. Spokesperson of many experiments.
Collaborator Contribution facility
Impact 24 publications
 
Description GREAT collaboration 
Organisation University of Jyvaskyla
Department Department of Physics
Country Finland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Constructed GREAT spectrometer and TDR DAQ system. Spokesperson of many experiments.
Collaborator Contribution facility
Impact 24 outputs
 
Description GSI Laser Spectroscopy 
Organisation Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Department GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research
Country Germany 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Assist in set-up and running of experiments. Co-spokesperson of proposal (ENSAR coordinator).
Collaborator Contribution Equipment, facility and expertise.
Impact At least two publications currently in press. First measurement of an optical resonance in nobelium.
Start Year 2014
 
Description GSI Laser Spectroscopy 
Organisation Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Department Helmholtz Institute Mainz
Country Germany 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Assist in set-up and running of experiments. Co-spokesperson of proposal (ENSAR coordinator).
Collaborator Contribution Equipment, facility and expertise.
Impact At least two publications currently in press. First measurement of an optical resonance in nobelium.
Start Year 2014
 
Description GSI Laser Spectroscopy 
Organisation Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Assist in set-up and running of experiments. Co-spokesperson of proposal (ENSAR coordinator).
Collaborator Contribution Equipment, facility and expertise.
Impact At least two publications currently in press. First measurement of an optical resonance in nobelium.
Start Year 2014
 
Description GSI Laser Spectroscopy 
Organisation Technical University of Darmstadt
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Assist in set-up and running of experiments. Co-spokesperson of proposal (ENSAR coordinator).
Collaborator Contribution Equipment, facility and expertise.
Impact At least two publications currently in press. First measurement of an optical resonance in nobelium.
Start Year 2014
 
Description GSI Laser Spectroscopy 
Organisation University of Leuven
Country Belgium 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Assist in set-up and running of experiments. Co-spokesperson of proposal (ENSAR coordinator).
Collaborator Contribution Equipment, facility and expertise.
Impact At least two publications currently in press. First measurement of an optical resonance in nobelium.
Start Year 2014
 
Description JYFL Laser Spectroscopy 
Organisation University of Jyvaskyla
Country Finland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Running of the laser spectroscopy set-up, contribution to equipment/consumable funding, spokesperson of several experiments.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of laboratory space, equipment and accelerator use.
Impact Active experimental proposals have been awarded accelerator beam time by the local Programme Advisory Committee. The experimental apparatus required to carry out the research has now been commissioned. Many publications in progress.
Start Year 2013
 
Description JYFL Laser Spectroscopy 
Organisation University of Manchester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Running of the laser spectroscopy set-up, contribution to equipment/consumable funding, spokesperson of several experiments.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of laboratory space, equipment and accelerator use.
Impact Active experimental proposals have been awarded accelerator beam time by the local Programme Advisory Committee. The experimental apparatus required to carry out the research has now been commissioned. Many publications in progress.
Start Year 2013
 
Description LISA 
Organisation Daresbury Laboratory
Department Nuclear Physics Support Group
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Intellectual contributions to experimental research programme.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual contribution to experimental research programme.
Impact Joint publications.
 
Description LISA 
Organisation University of the West of Scotland
Department School of Physics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Intellectual contributions to experimental research programme.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual contribution to experimental research programme.
Impact Joint publications.
 
Description MINIBALL collaboration 
Organisation European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)
Department ISOLDE Radioactive Ion Beam Facility
Country Switzerland 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Expertise on Coulomb Excitation analysis, spokespersons of 2 active ISOLDE experiments
Impact several publications
 
Description MINIBALL collaboration 
Organisation Lund University
Department Department of Physics
Country Sweden 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Expertise on Coulomb Excitation analysis, spokespersons of 2 active ISOLDE experiments
Impact several publications
 
Description MINIBALL collaboration 
Organisation University of Cologne
Department Department of Physics
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Expertise on Coulomb Excitation analysis, spokespersons of 2 active ISOLDE experiments
Impact several publications
 
Description MINIBALL collaboration 
Organisation University of Leuven
Department Department of Physics and Astronomy
Country Belgium 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Expertise on Coulomb Excitation analysis, spokespersons of 2 active ISOLDE experiments
Impact several publications
 
Description R3B Collaboration (NUSTAR) 
Organisation Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research
Department Nuclear Structure, Astrophysics and Reactions
Country Germany 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Collaborative research/experiments. Leadership in design and construction of detection systems (e.g. Si Tracker and associated EDAQ). Data analysis and monte carlo simulations (supervision of PhD students), scientific input (experimental proposals, authorship of publications...). Manpower (technical and research staff, PhD students) for construction of equipment and running experiments.. Presentations at collaboration meetings, workshops, conferences.
Collaborator Contribution Access to research large-scale facility and beam time, instrumentation for experiments, technical support, PhD students and research staff, etc. T. Aumann spokesperson of R3B collaboration.
Impact Publications. PhD theses (S. Paschalis, J. Taylor). Training of PhD students and research staff. Invitations to speak at meetings, workshops, conferences. Project leadership of Si tracker (NUSTAR-UK project grant).
 
Description R3B Collaboration (NUSTAR) 
Organisation Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Collaborative research/experiments. Leadership in design and construction of detection systems (e.g. Si Tracker and associated EDAQ). Data analysis and monte carlo simulations (supervision of PhD students), scientific input (experimental proposals, authorship of publications...). Manpower (technical and research staff, PhD students) for construction of equipment and running experiments.. Presentations at collaboration meetings, workshops, conferences.
Collaborator Contribution Access to research large-scale facility and beam time, instrumentation for experiments, technical support, PhD students and research staff, etc. T. Aumann spokesperson of R3B collaboration.
Impact Publications. PhD theses (S. Paschalis, J. Taylor). Training of PhD students and research staff. Invitations to speak at meetings, workshops, conferences. Project leadership of Si tracker (NUSTAR-UK project grant).
 
Description R3B Collaboration (NUSTAR) 
Organisation Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Department GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research
Country Germany 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Collaborative research/experiments. Leadership in design and construction of detection systems (e.g. Si Tracker and associated EDAQ). Data analysis and monte carlo simulations (supervision of PhD students), scientific input (experimental proposals, authorship of publications...). Manpower (technical and research staff, PhD students) for construction of equipment and running experiments.. Presentations at collaboration meetings, workshops, conferences.
Collaborator Contribution Access to research large-scale facility and beam time, instrumentation for experiments, technical support, PhD students and research staff, etc. T. Aumann spokesperson of R3B collaboration.
Impact Publications. PhD theses (S. Paschalis, J. Taylor). Training of PhD students and research staff. Invitations to speak at meetings, workshops, conferences. Project leadership of Si tracker (NUSTAR-UK project grant).
 
Description Research collaborators 
Organisation Daresbury Laboratory
Department Nuclear Physics Support Group
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Intellectual contributions to research programme and joint research papers.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual contributions to research programme and joint research papers.
Impact Many joint research papers.
 
Description Research collaborators 
Organisation University of Jyvaskyla
Department Department of Physics
Country Finland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Intellectual contributions to research programme and joint research papers.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual contributions to research programme and joint research papers.
Impact Many joint research papers.
 
Description Research collaborators 
Organisation University of Surrey
Department Department of Physics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Intellectual contributions to research programme and joint research papers.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual contributions to research programme and joint research papers.
Impact Many joint research papers.
 
Description TASCA Collaboration 
Organisation Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung
Department Nuclear Physics (Superheavy Elements)
Country Germany 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Parts of the detection system, Manpower, Data Analysis, Monte Carlo Simulation, Intellectual Input
Collaborator Contribution Technical Support for Experiment
Impact Confirmation of Element 114 and New isotope 277Hs (Duellmann et al, PRL 104 2010 252701) Spectroscopy of 253No (Anderson et al, NIMA622 2010 164)
Start Year 2006
 
Description TASCA Collaboration 
Organisation Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Department Helmholtz Institute Mainz
Country Germany 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Parts of the detection system, Manpower, Data Analysis, Monte Carlo Simulation, Intellectual Input
Collaborator Contribution Technical Support for Experiment
Impact Confirmation of Element 114 and New isotope 277Hs (Duellmann et al, PRL 104 2010 252701) Spectroscopy of 253No (Anderson et al, NIMA622 2010 164)
Start Year 2006
 
Description TASCA Collaboration 
Organisation Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Parts of the detection system, Manpower, Data Analysis, Monte Carlo Simulation, Intellectual Input
Collaborator Contribution Technical Support for Experiment
Impact Confirmation of Element 114 and New isotope 277Hs (Duellmann et al, PRL 104 2010 252701) Spectroscopy of 253No (Anderson et al, NIMA622 2010 164)
Start Year 2006
 
Description TRIUMF Laser Spectroscopy 
Organisation McGill University
Country Canada 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Proposal and running of experiments. Contribution to equipment and consumables.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of laboratory space, apparatus and experience.
Impact Active experiments directly related to the research proposal have been approved by the local Programme Advisory Committee. The experimental apparatus required and accelerator beam time have been made available.
Start Year 2013
 
Description TRIUMF Laser Spectroscopy 
Organisation TRIUMF
Country Canada 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Proposal and running of experiments. Contribution to equipment and consumables.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of laboratory space, apparatus and experience.
Impact Active experiments directly related to the research proposal have been approved by the local Programme Advisory Committee. The experimental apparatus required and accelerator beam time have been made available.
Start Year 2013
 
Description ALICE guide visits 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Visits for public to ALICE detector at CERN , ongoing program done at CERN
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Lead Editor Special Issue NPNI for the Year of the Periodic Table 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Special Issue of Nuclear Physics News International to celebrate the UNESCO year of the Periodic Table
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://www.nupecc.org/?display=npn/issues
 
Description PANS 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact PANS (Public Awareness of Nuclear Science) is an expert committee of NuPECC and the EPS for the promotion of Nuclear Science across Europe
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
URL http://www.nupecc.org/pans/
 
Description School Visit (Holy Cross) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact School Workshop "Meet a scientist" With several activities surrounding it.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Visit of ALICE experiment at CERN/LHC by a delegation of British MPs (Marielle Chartier, February 2018) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Official VIP visit by a delegation of a dozen British MPs to CERN, including the LHC and the ALICE experiment. Promoted the excellence of fundamental research performed at CERN and the positive impact it has on our society inlcuding techological advances, training opportunites of skilled staff, etc.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018