Capital Equipment 2018

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: Physics


This capital bid is for items that will enhance the research being carried out by the group.

The Digital DAQ system will be attached to the Liverpool detector characterisation scanning system which is fundamental to the academic and applications research work carried out by he group which has the aim to produce better gamma-ray detectors.

The SAGEWELL detector is a new type of gamma-ray detector. It has both high efficiency and excellent energy resolution. The novel electric field configuration means that it is an ideal detector to be based in our laboratory which when used with the detector characterisation scanning system will allow us to better understand and model the electric fields within the crystal and to determine the effect of parameters such as impurity concentrations and temperature dependence of the electron and hole mobility. Improvement of the modelling capability is an important part of our academic research (e.g. AGATA, SIGMA) and the applications work where improved spectral response for the measurements such as decommissioning and environments assay is part of our research programme.

The Matisse dye laser will provide stable, narrow linewidth, laser light across a broad range of wavelengths for high resolution optical spectroscopy. This will revolutionise the university's infrastructure and will match well the recently purchased second harmonic generator, to be applied to fundamental research into nuclear structure. Adoption of this modern and popular system will also allow skills to be transferred between collaborations and indeed to optics and photonics industries.

The triggerless data acquisition system pioneered by us requires an upgrade of the central clock distribution system in the form of new state-of-the-art metronome/clock distributor cards (MCD) for use in nuclear physics experiments. The development of these cards was funded by STFC through the 2014-2017 consolidated grant and prototypes were designed, delivered and tested by our collaboration. We will now construct 21 production units for use in the University of Jyväskylä (18 units) and ISOLDE at CERN (3 units). This will allow us to pursue pioneering research well aligned with the research goals set by the UK NP Advisory Panel.

Planned Impact

Since the discovery of the atomic nucleus just over a century ago, nuclear physics research and technology development has had a huge influence in Society's everyday lives. Through energy production with low-carbon emission, radiation detection for national security or environmental monitoring, and cancer diagnosis and treatment in modern healthcare, the applications emerging from nuclear physics are numerous and yet very much relevant to today's general public needs.

Our scientific discoveries are published in leading international journals and are reported on a web site hosted by the Daresbury Group and a monthly Nuclear Physics Newsletter. Examples of recent high profile scientific discoveries, which have made a huge international impact include: the confirmation of the existence of the superheavy chemical element 117, this led to element 117 being named tennessine (Ts) in 2016 and the discovery of pear-shaped nuclei which was selected as a top 10 breakthrough in physics by Physics World in 2013 and continues to receive a large amount of interest from the media world-wide.

The requested equipment will be used to upgrade the pulse-shape analysis and detector scanning facilities of the University of Liverpool's nuclear instrumentation group. The group collaborates with industry and other research institutes for the development of new generations of radiation detectors. The University of Liverpool has significant industrial engagement programmes which support knowledge exchange with a focus on nuclear measurement techniques and instrumentation. Industrial collaborators include AWE, Canberra, Centronic, Kromek, John Caunt Scientific, Metropolitan Police, MoD, National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), Rapiscan, Sellafield Ltd. and a large number of NHS Trusts. Selected existing projects include ProSPECTus, PGRIS, GammakeV, GRi and BEGe.

Beyond satisfying human curiosity around the workings of nature, pure research in nuclear physics has also tremendous societal impact. Our groups have 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 from the University of Liverpool are frequently invited to share their knowledge and talk about their research at schools, science festivals and community groups. Liverpool are actively engaged with STFC who run nuclear physics masters classes at their Daresbuty site each year. The University of Liverpool hosts the state-of-the-art Central Teaching Laboratory (CTL) facility which 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 we hosted a Science Jamboree for 300 Cubs, Beavers and Brownies. Delivery is by members of the nuclear physics group including students who have been trained for the work. These outreach events also include Women in Physics workshops, organised for girls in Year 12 studying AS and/or A2 Physics.


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