Nuclear Physics

The Nuclear Science Laboratory at Notre Dame is one of the longest continuously operating accelerator laboratories at any U.S. university, and its nuclear physics program is ranked among the strongest in the nation. Our research is built around a broad program in experimental and theoretical low-energy nuclear physics, including nuclear astrophysics, nuclear structure, nuclear reactions with radioactive ion beams, accelerator mass spectroscopy, fundamental symmetries, and applied nuclear physics. Complementing our three on-campus accelerators, we also operate a fourth accelerator for research focused on high-sensitivity astrophysics studies one mile underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota. We also conduct experiments at other U.S. universities, at national laboratories and at facilities worldwide.

Nuclear theory research at Notre Dame addresses the origin of the elements and the strongly correlated motion of nucleons within the nucleus, through investigations in theoretical nuclear astrophysics and nuclear structure physics. In nuclear astrophysics, we probe the properties of nuclei and nuclear matter under extremes of temperature and density, to constrain nuclear physics and astrophysical environments. In nuclear structure, we seek to understand the emergence of simple patterns, such as quantal rotational and vibrational modes, through ab initio and collective approaches, in nuclei from the very lightest to the heaviest and to the limits of stability. We also perform ab initio nuclear structure calculations aimed at constraining physics beyond the standard model.

Student participation in every aspect is an essential component of a successful research program. We offer graduate students a comprehensive research experience that includes hands-on work with experimental equipment, operating accelerators, designing instruments, analyzing data, developing and carrying out calculations for the nuclear quantum many-body problem on high-performance computers, performing calculations of nuclear reaction networks in astrophysical environments, and publishing scientific articles.

Institute for Structure and Nuclear Astrophysics (ISNAP) web page

Nuclear Theory Research web page