Jul 14

Previews of the Future in Low-Energy Experimental Nuclear Physics, National Postdoctoral Seminar Series

Our mission is to support US-based senior experimental Postdocs and finishing graduating PhD students in the low-energy nuclear physics field who are about to take the next step in their careers. Due to the COVID-19 situation, junior people are currently being robbed of the opportunity to travel to conferences, show their work, and meet and interact with potential employers.

Our goal is to shed exposure on these individuals by providing an online series of selective seminars to be held 1-2 times a month until conference travel has returned to some normalcy.

To learn more or recommend someone for a seminar, please visit: https://enppreview.tamu.edu/

Jul 01

REU 2020 goes online!

The global pandemic of 2020 does not stop the REU program. Several students across the US joined the ND-REU program and are working remotely, on data analysis, simulations and modeling.
Cassidy Favorite from Hendrix College and Ryan Buechele from Case Western Reserve University joined my group this summer to work on Geant4 simulations for the STARLiTeR array. Their work will help us understand the response function of the gamma-ray detectors and will allow for optimizing the setup in the future to maximize the gamma-ray detection probability.

Feb 19

HECTOR ready for experiments a mile underground

Last week a team from Notre Dame, Dan Robertson and Orlando Gomez, were at the Sanford Underground Research Facility working 4850 feet underground to install HECTOR, Notre Dame’s high-efficiency, gamma-ray summing detector. The combined setup, called CASTOR, is now ready and soon be measuring alpha-capture reactions relevant for a wide and varied range of stellar burning scenarios. With CASPAR’s low-energy, high-intensity beams and HECTOR’s high gamma-summing efficiency, the CASTOR team will push the limits of the cross section measurements. HECTOR will remain underground until August 2020 and will be utilized for several experimental campaigns lead by Notre Dame and strongly supported by collaborators from South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

Original article: https://isnap.nd.edu/news/hector-ready-for-experiments-at-caspar/

Nov 06

HECTOR underground: Tessa presents her work at the CUSE Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning Showcase

Tessa Klein, a physics junior, has been working on Geant4 simulations for HECTOR that will help our group understand the structure of the background in our data that is generated by cosmic muons. She is exploring the possibility to include veto detectors around HECTOR to reduce the background and, recently, started simulations of HECTOR performance 1-mile underground to mimic the conditions of CASPAR facility. Thanks to her work, we will be able to minimize the cosmic background in our data and improve the sensitivity of cross section measurements.

Nov 01

Patrick and Sean presented their work at the COS-JAM event

Patrick and Sean were both selected to give oral presentations at the COS-JAM event. Patrick discussed the work that formed his Honor Thesis: proton capture reaction on 108Cd, one of the p-nuclei. The goal of the work was to constrain the cross section to better understand the production of Cd isotopes by the p-process during the explosion of a type II SN.
Sean in his talk provided the details of the p-process nucleosynthesis and the summing-technique, the gamma-ray detection technique that we use in our group. He also presented HECTOR, our summing detector.

Nov 01

HECTOR is joining the CASPAR team.


A team of faculty from the Nuclear Science Laboratory, Daniel RobertsonManoel CouderAnna Simon and Joachim Goerres, led by Michael Wiescher received 4-year support from the NSF to continue measurements at the underground accelerator facility investigating reactions important for the stellar nucleosynthesis processes. The Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR), undertakes National ScienceFoundation (NSF) funded research at the underground accelerator laboratory housed in the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. CASPAR resides 4850 ft underground and is dedicated to the study of nuclear reactions fueling stellar environments and elemental production. CASPAR is the only deep underground accelerator laboratory in the U.S. The 1-MV accelerator provides high-intensity beams required for measurements of the very low cross sections that drive the life of stars during their burning stages and define the final fate of the star.

The measurements funded within the award will focus on alpha induced reactions important for the understanding of nucleosynthesis in first stars, whose signatures are observed in the spectroscopy observations of extreme carbon-enhanced metal-poor (CEMP) stars.  The experiments are also crucial for the understanding of the s-process nucleosynthesis in Red Giant Branch (RGB) and Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) stars with observables ranging from the spectroscopy of planetary nebulae to cosmo-chemistry analysis of meteoritic inclusions.  It will provide an improved understanding of the s-process which, next to the r-process, is the main path towards the production of elements with masses above iron.

Original article: https://isnap.nd.edu/news/peeking-at-the-universe-through-a-window-deep-underground-caspar-receives-750-000-from-nsf/

Nov 01

Sean presents his research at the CEU event

Sean Kelly presented the results of his work as an REU student at Notre Dame during a Conference Experience for Undergraduates at the APS DNP meeting that took place in Crystal City, VA. Sean is using the data from HECTOR’s commissioning run to understand the level scheme of 28Si and figure out the origin of the gamma-rays we observed in the experiment that are not identified within the known levels.

He has also presented his work at the COS-FURF event: https://science.nd.edu/research/undergraduate-research/events/.

Nov 12

Sean presents his research at the University of Notre Dame Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning Showcase

Sean Kelly and undergradute who is currently analyzing data from our last HECTOR experiment, presented a poster at  the University of Notre Dame Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning Showcase. Sean talked about the p-process nucleosynthesis and details of the gamma-ray summing technique.

Nov 09

Rebeka receives award for poster presentation at AWIS

Rebeka presented her work at the conference organized by the Association for Women in Science Notre Dame Chapter. Her poster on the p-process nucleosynthesis was ranked third  in the “Best poster competition”! Click here to read more: https://physics.nd.edu/news/graduate-students-receive-awards-at-awis-regional-conference/



Sep 13

Craig spends summer at LLNL

Craig Reingold, fourth-year graduate student in the Nuclear Science Laboratory working with the group of Prof. Anna Simon, spent ten weeks in summer 2018 at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He joined the Academic Cooperation Program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory which hosts up to 800 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The program is designed to encourage external collaborations with LLNL. His stay at LLNL was also partially funded by CENTAUR: Center for Excellence in Nuclear Training and University-based Research. CENTAUR is a five-year grant from National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) that is focused on training the next generation of nuclear physics
scientists for national security efforts. Within the center, each year one graduate student from the participating institutions is selected for the program at a national lab.

Link to the Department of Physics article.

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