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From Big Bang nucleosynthesis to medical science: advanced electronic signal analysis for extreme-light experiments in nuclear science.

Project Description

The Extreme-Light Infrastructure - Nuclear Physics (ELI-NP) is currently under construction in Bucharest, Romania. The facility has recently demonstrated that the High Power Laser System has reached 10PW (ten million billion Watts), which paves the way for top-level international experiments with extremely bright laser beams. In parallel, ELI-NP is preparing a world-leading gamma-ray beam facility for nuclear astrophysics, nuclear structure and medical science.

As part of these developments, a novel charged-particle detector array, [email protected], is being planned for the gamma-beam facility, led by University of York. The detector array will offer unique capabilities for embedded electronic signal analysis, with on-line identification of the emitted particles. The present PhD project on advanced electronic-signal analysis will open up new opportunities for physical science research, ranging from nuclear processes in the Big Bang and neutron-star mergers, to how we can create radionuclides for medical diagnosis and treatment through gamma-induced fission.

The PhD project will specifically focus on the development and implementation of a novel pulse shape analysis of signals from silicon semiconductor detectors. This will be used to discriminate between ions and electrons, specifically identifying heavy ions and light ions from fission and astrophysical charged-particle emission in gamma-ray induced reactions against a background of electrons from beta-decays and Compton-scattering. The project will include both laboratory work and computing: recording and optimisation of pulse-shape data from a range of silicon semiconductor detectors and configurations; development and implementation of new pulse shape analysis methods in software; preparation for and implementation into Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), programmed in VHDL; and participation in international gamma-beam experiments.

ELI-NP is an integrated partner on the PhD project, and the project therefore offers integration of the developed particle identification routines into a range of research areas. This includes opportunities to link the developments to other detector arrays, medical isotope production at the planned isotope-production facility at ELI-NP, as well as nuclear astrophysics experiments. To facilitate this integration of the project into not only the [email protected] project, but across the ELI-NP gamma-beam physics programme, the PhD project will include an up to 2-year placement at ELI-NP (Bucharest, Romania).

Funding Notes

Eligibility: UK and EU students.
3 years tuition fees plus stipend (£15,009 for 2019/20).
Academic entry requirements: at least a class 2:1 MSc or MPhys degree in Physics.

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