Physics Department: REU Projects - Nuclear Physics

Nuclear Science Laboratory

Prof. Tan Ahn

Our research group studies how nuclear properties are determined by the underlying interactions of the nucleons. This is an extremely difficult task, but we aim to make progress in this direction by studying various nuclear reactions using a variety of nuclei. One of the tools we use to study these reactions is a detector, called a time-projection chamber, that can record a 3-dimensional image of a single reaction taking place inside its gas-filled volume. By recording a large number of these images, we can deduce the probability of a certain reaction taking place. This information gives us insight into the internal dynamics of the nucleus. There is a number of opportunities for projects related to these type of measurements, which include the design of a printed-circuit board for an electron-amplification detector, design of a test chamber for testing detector gases, use of lasers in gas cells, development of particle-track visualization, and development of data analysis and data acquisition programs. Students can also participate in experiments at the Nuclear Science Lab as opportunity allows.

Prof. Ani Aprahamian

Professor Aprahamian is a nuclear experimentalist whose research focuses on measurements of nuclear properties that affect stellar environments and explosive astrophysical scenarios. These include masses, beta-decay half lives, beta-delayed neutron emission probabilities of exotic neutron rich nuclei, and the evolution of nuclear structure for nuclei near stability. She is particularly interested in using particle and gamma-ray spectroscopy tools to address open questions in nuclear science. She is an expert in nuclear level lifetime measurement techniques. Presently developing instrumentation for the simultaneous measurement of gamma-rays and conversion electrons resulting from nuclear reactions.

Prof. Daniel Bardayan

Exploding stars such as novae and supernovae produce exotic nuclei that are not typically found on Earth but must be created artificially in the laboratory.  This project involves the creation of such exotic nuclei using accelerated beams at the Nuclear Science Laboratory in combination with the TwinSol facility.  The student will be involved in a number of projects involving TwinSol including the possibility of performing experiments with exotic beams.


Prof. Maxime Brodeur


Ion trapping, an experimental technique traditionally used in atomic physics, is now being applied to perform precision measurements to help answer questions ranging from explaining the origin of the heaviest elements to searching for physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics. We are currently developing ion traps to answer these questions at the University of Notre Dame. The REU student will be involved in research and development of ion transport and trapping devices.

Prof. Umesh Garg

Nuclear Incompressibility is one of the three fundamental quantities characterizing the equation of state of infinite nuclear matter and the only one which has not been measured in a direct experiment. It is critical to our understanding of a wide variety of nuclear and astrophysical phenomena including neutron stars, stellar collapse, supernovae, and collective flow in high-energy heavy-ion collisions. We measure nuclear incompressibility directly by observing the compressional-mode vibrations of atomic nuclei. These experiments are carried out at the Research Center of Nuclear Physics at Osaka University, Osaka, Japan and the RIKEN Laboratory, Japan. The REU student will help with data analysis and might have the opportunity to participate in an experiment at RCNP.

Prof. Graham Peaslee

Our research is centered about the use of nuclear physics in environmental applications. Ion beam analysis techniques such as Particle-Induced Gamma-ray Emission and Particle-Induced X-ray Emission are used to screen samples for chemicals of concern such as per- and polyfluroinated alkyl substances (PFAS) and other halogenated flame retardants. A new 3MV tandem pelletron accelerator is being used to conduct these measurements and students will be involved in the testing of the new accelerator and its detector systems with standards and environmental samples.  Specific studies will involve students in sample collection and preparation, running the accelerator and acquiring data, as well as data analysis and interpretation for publication.