Investigations into the structure of exotic atomic nuclei using stateof-the-art techniques of gamma-ray spectroscopy

Lead Research Organisation: University of the West of Scotland
Department Name: School of Engineering


Over the years, the investigation into the behaviour of nuclei has been vital to many industries, including
medicine and nuclear energy. This research has also allowed physicists to develop useful models that explain
and predict the properties of some nuclei. However, it is important to investigate whether these models work
as well for nuclei with a large difference in protons and neutrons, commonly known as exotic nuclei.
Exotic nuclei are of primary interest in this project. When nuclei are in excited states they can release
energy by the emission of gamma rays, which can give physicists an insight into the properties of these exotic
nuclei. One of the many useful ways in which they can be studied is using a technique known as gamma-ray
spectroscopy. High purity germanium semiconductor detectors, such as the large array of detectors known
as Gammasphere at Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, can be used to detect gamma rays with high
energy resolution and efficiency. Using large arrays of detectors also means that many gamma rays can
be detected simultaneously. This is known as gamma-ray coincidence spectroscopy and this technique also
provides useful information about the behaviour of these nuclei.
One of the difficulties encountered in this area of research is that the exotic nuclei have a small probability
of being produced in reactions. Identifying these nuclei from other more populated nuclei require a technique
known as channel selection. This can be done by detecting evaporated particles in coincidence with gamma
One of the many properties that gamma rays can reveal about the nucleus is its shape. The exotic nuclei
of interest at UWS are octupole deformed, otherwise known as pear shaped. Using the aforementioned
techniques, the UWS nuclear physics group plan to study candidates which are predicted to have octupole
deformation and this PhD project will involve analysing data gathered about these nuclei.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ST/R505201/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021
2012538 Studentship ST/R505201/1 01/10/2017 01/10/2020 Jacqueline Sinclair