The Nuclear Physics Group at the University of Surrey has been awarded a large scale grant worth almost half a million pounds (£483k) from the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to synthesise and study the structure of the most exotic forms of nuclear matter created to date.
The Surrey collaboration, led by Dr. Paddy Regan, Reader in Nuclear Physics, has won a four-year grant to perform a series of experiments at the € 1Billion GSI-FAIR heavy-ion research centre located at Darmstadt, Germany. This unique international facility allows scientists from all over the world to perform experiments to probe the structure of atomic nuclei, which make up more than 99.95% of all observable matter. The facility accelerates atoms to very high energies (more than 100 thousand miles per second!) before colliding them with stationary metallic production targets in a process know as projectile fragmentation.
The residual nuclear fragments left over from these violent collisions can form very-rare sub-species of the atomic elements found on earth, but with an abnormal number of neutrons compared to the stable elements which everyday matter is constructed from. These exotic or radioactive species are of fundamental interest to scientists in understanding how the elements were originally formed in exploding stars in the early universe.
Stuart Miller | alfa
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