Investigating the 7Be(p,p) Reaction for Astrophysical Processes during Hydrogen burning in Stars

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Physics and Astronomy


My Ph.D. project at the University of Edinburgh is concerned with the experimental investigation of the 7Be(p,p) elastic scattering, which is important to better understand the 7Be(p,gamma)8B reaction in the Sun. The study involves designing and setting up the experimental setup as part of an international collaboration at the Centre for Isotopic Research on the Cultural and Environmental heritage (CIRCE) located in Caserta, Italy. Alongside practical experimentation I am also simulating the reaction beforehand to obtain a preliminary understanding of expected results and for early optimisation of experimental aspects (target properties, detector geometries, etc.). It is also anticipated that I will perform theoretical calculations once data is obtained, using models such as R-matrix theory. In addition, I will also be involved with the study of other reactions of astrophysical interest which complement the 7Be(p,p) case. These are highly likely to include 7Li(p,p), 6Li(p,alpha) and 6Li(p,gamma). The latter two reactions are currently being studied at the Laboratory for Underground Nuclear Astrophysics (LUNA) located in Gran Sasso, Italy, where I'll be taking data from mid to late March and contribute to the data analysis.

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ST/N504051/1 01/10/2015 31/03/2021
1851226 Studentship ST/N504051/1 01/10/2016 31/03/2020 Thomas Chillery
Description Research Student Conference Fund
Amount £300 (GBP)
Organisation Institute of Physics (IOP) 
Sector Learned Society
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2019 
End 08/2019
Description Edinburgh - CIRCE 
Organisation University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli"
Department Center For Isotopic Research On Cultural And Environmental Heritage
Country Italy 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I have supplied the CIRCE laboratory with scientific equipment to be used in measuring nuclear reactions involving charged particles, specifically the 7Li(p,p)7Li and 7Be(p,p)7Be relevant to my research. This equipment includes Micron S2 silicon semiconductor detectors, the relevant shaping electronics, and target chamber parts. I have also participated in planning beamtime and collecting data for these reactions.
Collaborator Contribution The CIRCE collaboration has supplied us with their laboratory facilities, including their 3MV TTT-3 Tandem Accelerator. They have also supplied shifters to operate the accelerator and assist in working with the target chamber.
Impact Data has been recently collected from the 7Li(p,p)7Li and 7Be(p,p)7Be campaign, and papers are expected to be published in the future.
Start Year 2013
Description Edinburgh - LUNA 
Organisation Laboratory for Underground Nuclear Astrophysics
Sector Public 
PI Contribution I have participated in shifts dedicated to measuring the following reactions of astrophysical interest: 6Li(p,g)7Be, 6Li(p,a)3He, and 22Ne(a,g)26Mg. These shifts include me setting up the charged-particle and/or gamma-ray detectors (as required) and their corresponding electronics (power supplies, shaping modules, data acquisition). They also include me operating the LUNA-400kV accelerator including starting the accelerator source and optimising the beam optics via beam tuning with high energy magnets. I have also been analysing data from the 6Li(p,g)7Be and 6Li(p,a)3He campaign, which includes frequent discussions with fellow LUNA collaborators located in Italy.
Collaborator Contribution The LUNA collaboration supplies its members with access to the LUNA laboratory located below Gran Sasso. This includes access to the LUNA-400kV accelerator and the sharing of data through the use of working groups.
Impact Data has been obtained for several reactions of astrophysical interest and it is expected for papers to be published in the near future.
Start Year 2010