Exploring the nuclear structure using laser spectroscopy techniques

Location: Belgium
Application Deadline: 03/06/2024
Published: 1 month ago

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This PhD position is located in the Institute for Nuclear and Radiation Physics (Instituut voor Kern- en Stralingsfysica) which is a research unit of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the KU Leuven. You will become part of a team of several other postdoctoral researchers, PhD students, master students and senior staff carrying out experimental research on matter on the femtoscale. You will join in ongoing efforts to develop precision laser spectroscopy techniques to study the nuclear structure of short-lived isotopes and to contribute to the search for physics beyond the standard model. Research is performed both at the KU Leuven and at international large-scale facilities, with the latter giving us access to short-lived isotopes which do not occur in nature.
Project
The atomic nucleus is a complex system of protons and neutron. Understanding the nuclear structure requires probing different aspects of the nuclear force, and the measurement of short-lived isotopes. Several properties of the atomic nucleus are accessible using laser spectroscopy techniques. Is a nucleus spherical or deformed? Do nucleons behave as individual entities or should they be considered as the building blocks of a collective state? How does the structure of an atomic nucleus change when extreme amounts of protons or neutrons are present? These are only a few examples of questions which our group is trying to answer. In cooperation with other international research teams and using the results of experimental and theoretical studies, we probe the unknown properties of the strong interaction. To reach this goal, our research focuses on the structure of short-lived nuclei, i.e. nuclei with extreme proton to neutron ratios. .

The spin and the static moments of the nucleus are excellent probes to study nuclear structure. Over the years, the group has developed expertise in measurements of these static moments on short-lived isotopes, mainly using laser spectroscopy techniques. With these techniques, the nuclear moments are obtained from measurements of atomic hyperfine structure. The first observable we can access in this way is the mean square charge radius, which gives an indication for the extension of the nuclear charge in space. Additional insight into the charge distribution is obtained from the next electric observable, the electric quadrupole moment, which probes the average deviation of the nuclear charge distribution from a sphere. Complimentary to these electrical observables, the magnetic moments are sensitive to the quantum configuration of the valence nucleons.
Within this context, we propose a new PhD topic to study the nuclear properties of short lived isotopes towards the nuclei with equal number of protons and neutron (N=Z) in the medium-mass region. The laser spectroscopy of these systems allows for the study of the symmetry between these particles in proton-rich nuclei by measuring the nuclear moments and the changes in the mean-square charge radii. Besides contributing to understanding the nuclear structure, they are also relevant for research exploring the limits of the standard model. As part of this project, you are expected to participate in hand-on work in our laser laboratories, and contribute to developing and implementing new techniques. Of curse, all the work is carried out in an experienced and supportive team, which will guide you along the way.

Profile

You preferably have a Master of Science in Physics.
You are curiosity-driven, detail-oriented, and an independent thinker.
You enjoy working in an international environment and excel at teamwork.
You are willing to travel regularly to participate in experiments.
You are eager to learn about different experimental tools, such as ultra-high vacuum, lasers, data acquisition, particle detectors, ….

Offer

We offer a full-time, 4-year PhD student position, in a dynamic scientific environment, at a top international university.

Interested

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Agi Koszorus, tel.: +32 16 32 84 54, mail: agi.koszorus@kuleuven.be.

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

Do you have a question about the online application system? Please consult our FAQ or email us at apply@kuleuven.be

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