Experimental Nuclear Physics

Our research focus is understanding the nature of exotic nuclear matter. We conduct experiments on very neutron-rich nuclei near the neutron dripline, using invariant mass spectroscopy on neutron breakup reactions to determine ground state masses of particle-unstable isotopes as well as energies of unbound excited states.

The work is funded by a National Science Foundation "Research at Undergraduate Institutions" (RUI) grant, and takes place both at Westmont College and at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University. While students can participate in this research year-round, the majority of activity occurs during the summer months. Typically 2 to 3 students work as Research Assistants under Dr. Rogers for a 10-week period following finals week. We usually travel at least once and sometimes twice to MSU to conduct research at the accelerator lab, and to participate in experiments conducted by the MoNA collaboration.

   

Relevant Links:

National Superconducting Laboratory, MSU

MoNA Collaboration Homepage

Some history behind the MoNA collaboration, of which Westmont College is a member

Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program. Westmont College was involved in a 9-college and university collaboration to build a large Modular Neutron Array (MoNA) detector, consisting of 144 2-m long scintillator detector modules, currently housed at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) of Michigan State University. During the summer and fall of 2002, several Westmont students assisted in the construction, testing, and calibration of 16 large scintillation detectors, after which were shipped to MSU, where they were installed with the detectors from all the other participating institutions. Then once again in 2009 with funding from an additional MRI grant, students participated in the construction of a second neutron detector array, called the Large multi-Institutional Scintillator Array (LISA), also consisting of 144 detector modules. Currently, Westmont students have the opportunity to participate in summer research programs at MSU involving the MoNA detector.

Interested students should contact Dr. Warren Rogers.