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Studies of fast neutrons for design and characterisation of neutrino experiments and spallation neutron sources

Department of Physics

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Dr T Katori , Dr Carlo Cazzaniga No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
London United Kingdom Experimental Physics

About the Project

This studentship provides a unique opportunity to join both the KCL Experimental Particle and Astroparticle Physics (EPAP) group and to work at the ISIS neutron and muon source. We encourage enthusiastic applicants from all backgrounds, especially those under-represented in physics, to join our diverse team. The successful candidate will spend time at both institutions, gaining hands-on experimental training at ISIS and benefiting from expert supervision in analysis at KCL and participation in the University of London graduate lecture programme. Funding is also included for travel and workshop attendance.  

The Hyper-Kamiokande (Hyper-K) experiment is the next generation of successful neutrino experiments (Nobel prizes in Physics in 2002 and 2015) that promises ground-breaking discoveries in neutrino physics and astrophysics. To further increase the neutrino signals in the Hyper-K’s detector (260 kilo-ton water tank) additional information can be accessed by detecting fast neutrons produced in neutrino interactions.

Fast neutrons are also the major source of undesirable background in experiments at spallation neutron sources. A better understanding of fast neutron interactions is critical for the design of future spallation sources (like ISIS-II). Our knowledge about fast neutron interactions is currently limited due to a small  number of facilities, but the unique capabilities of the ChipIr beamline at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) ​ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, near Oxford will allow us to expand our knowledge in time to benefit big projects like Hyper-K (data taking expected in 2027) and ISIS-II.

Results of the measurements of the fast neutrons interactions with water will be used to improve neutrino detection techniques in Hyper-K and other neutrino telescopes. The methods developed in this work will then be applied to testing of other materials of interest for the design of new spallation sources.

Under this 3.5year studentship, the student will spend the first year at KCL learning basic particle physics, followed by 1.5years at the RAL ISIS facility to develop the neutron beam experiment. In the final year, the student will return to KCL to focus on analysis and thesis writing.

Expertise and knowledge in neutron transport calculations and/or neutron measurements is desirable, but not necessary.

Start date: 1 October 2021

Please note: Initial shortlisting will occur after the 31st January, but if a suitable candidate is not identified we will continue to revue applications until the post is filled.

For full information on how to apply:

Financial support covers the home fees charged at University and is available for UK students. Non-UK students can find out which fees they have to pay from the UKCISA page. In addition a maintenance allowance is paid over 3.5 years. International students are eligible, and 30% of the studentships can be given to such students. However, the grants do not cover the international University fees. So if you have the correct qualifications and either the partner University offers a special deal to waive the international fees or you have access to your own funding, either from your home country or your own finances, your application will be considered. 

Students not covered by the above may still be accepted to study for a PhD/D.Phil, under appropriate circumstances, provided they meet all the relevant entry criteria. All students will be entitled to the normal rights, privileges and use of facilities at the collaborating University, particularly those of the graduate school, and will be subject to the same responsibilities, rules and regulations as other registered graduate students. Whilst not an "employee" of STFC, when working at RAL, students will be required to comply with a number of policies/procedures including those relating to health and safety, no-smoking, code of conduct for staff etc as well as conforming with normal staff requirements for medical and security clearance. They will have the same access to Welfare, Occupational Health and Nursery facilities as STFC employees.

Funding Notes

This is a 3.5year co-funded studentship joint between RAL-ISIS (UKRI, STFC) and KCL
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