Physics and Astronomy PhD (Nuclear Physics specialism)

Our research is aimed at understanding the properties of atomic nuclei in terms of the behaviour of their constituents. These properties are investigated from low energy, where the nuclear constituents interact as individual particles, to very high energies, where nucleons can 'melt' into their component quarks and gluons. 

We are also interested in the use of nuclear physics in medical and industrial applications.

 Our research is aimed at understanding the properties of atomic nuclei in terms of the behaviour of their constituents. These properties are investigated from low energy, where the nuclear constituents interact as individual particles, to very high energies, where nucleons can 'melt' into their component quarks and gluons. We are also interested in the use of nuclear physics in medical and industrial applications. 

The Charissa collaboration is using large detector arrays to investigate the properties of nuclei far from stability, near the neutron and proton drip lines. This work is undertaken at laboratories around the world, including the Grand Accelerateur National d’Ions Lourds (GANIL) in France, which is a leading facility for the study of exotic nuclei far from stability.

Information about sizes and shapes of unstable nuclei is obtained by the application of high-resolution laser spectroscopy at Jyväskylä in Finland at the CERN-ISOLDE facility. The group is also involved in preparatory work for experiments at the forthcoming Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR) at GSI in Germany.

At very high-energy, collisions of heavy nuclei produce energy densities that would have occurred at times only several microseconds after the Big Bang. We are responsible for the trigger system in the ALICE experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider and are pursuing physics topics ranging from soft particle production and resonances through to jets and heavy flavour.

There is also the possibility of research projects related to the nuclear power industry, usually following-on from our MSc course on the Physics and Technology of Nuclear Reactors. These projects are normally run in conjunction with the UK and French industry.