PhD project: Underground measurements of key nuclear astrophysics reactions

Project description

Non-explosive stellar evolution is maintained by thermonuclear reactions between (mostly) stable nuclei. As these reactions proceed by quantum tunnelling, their experimental investigation in terrestrial laboratories is severely hampered by extremely low cross sections. Often, the only possibility to measure such cross sections directly at the energies of astrophysical interest rests in carrying out measurements underground. LUNA (Laboratory Underground for Nuclear Astrophysics), under the Gran Sasso massif in Italy, is currently the only facility in the world were these measurements can be made.

The student working on this project will have the opportunity to be involved in all the stages required for the measurement of a key low-energy nuclear reaction, including target preparation, experiment setup, beam tuning, data taking, data analysis and interpretation. The project is offered to a student with a strong academic background, a high degree of independence, and the aspiration to work within an international collaboration. Good data analysis and programming skills are desirable.

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