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Semester 1

Nuclear and Particle Physics (PHYS10106)


Physics and Astronomy





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Course Summary

This course looks at physics within the nucleus, exploring the consequences of quantum physics at the high energies, and short distances, explored by nuclear and particle physics.We will begin with a review of relativistic and quantum mechanics, the symmetries of fermions and bosons, and the forces of nature. We will go on to explore the nature of these forces in the nuclear and particle physics domain, and see how they are related to decays and scattering processes.We will introduce the fundamental particles and composite states, including nuclei, which appear on subatomic scales and investigate the quantum numbers and symmetries associated with the interactions of these particles. We will discuss the models used to describe the phenomena observed on the subatomic scale, and explore both their many successes and their shortcomings.We will also discuss the experimental methods used to explore the subatomic world.

Course Description

Nuclear Physics:- Big-bang, nucleosynthesis, binding of the deuteron by the strong force, energy-time uncertainty relation, definition of the width of a state, energy non-conservation over short times, Yukawa exchange model of n - n interaction, virtual pion as exchange particle/field quantum, range of nuclear force, Yukawa potential, comparison to electromagnetic force, definition of mesons and baryons, Delta resonance production in photoproton reaction, Magnetic moments of fundamental particles the electron, magnetic moments of neutrons and protons - not fundamental particles, Quark - gluon model of n and p, colour neutrality.- The nucleon-nucleon interaction, charge independence of nuclear force, spin dependence of nuclear force, Nuclear sizes, electron nucleus scattering, electrons as example of leptons, momentum position uncertainty relation, precision measurements of nuclear size, diffraction effects, de Broglie relation, charge distributions, probes of matter distributions, evidence of surface diffuseness, Parameterisation of nuclear matter distribution, systematics of nuclear radii, evidence for liquid drop-type behaviour, saturation of the nuclear force, Nuclear mass and binding energy, atomic mass unit defined, binding energy per nucleon, understanding of surface, volume and Coulomb energy effects, nucleus viewed as a charged liquid drop.- Line of Nuclear stability, stability of light N = Z nuclei, the need for quantum mechanics/the Pauli exclusion principle, concept of the Fermi level, evolution of line of stability with increasing atomic number, Z, stability of even-even nuclei and nuclear pairing energy, time reversed orbits, nucleon total angular momentum J from coupling of orbital angular momentum l and spin, s, explanation how pairing leads to all even-even nuclei having a total ground-state spin J = 0.- The nuclear shell model, evidence for enhance binding at magic numbers, concept of filling of major shells, nucleons moving independently in central potential, the Woods-Saxon potential, the need a for a spin-orbit component to the nuclear potential, splitting of levels, examples of ground-state shell model configurations, the parity operator, parity as a multiplicative quantum number, the prediction of ground-state spin and parities.- Excited states in nuclei, comparison to the shell model, mirror nuclei, excited states in even-even nuclei - low lying 2+ states, collective vibrational excitation modes of the nucleus, evidence for non-spherical nuclear shapes in gamma-ray cascades, superdeformed nuclei, the deformed nuclear shell model.- Beta decay, an example of the weak interaction, decay viewed as a point-like interaction at the quark level, relation of range to masses of W particles, beta - decay - introduction of positron as anti-particle of electron, energy distribution of positrons, evidence for 3-bodies, postulation of the existence of the neutrino, beta + decay and the electron-capture process in neutron-rich nuclei, parity violation in nuclear beta decay, thermonuclear fusion in the sun, solar neutrino oscillations.- Alpha-decay and spontaneous fission in high Z nuclei, the production of new elements, chain reactions, induced fission, liquid drop perspective ion fission, saddle and scission points, definition of neutron separation energy, fissile material, neutron capture resonances, nuclear reactor.Particle Physics:- Fundamental particles & forces. The Standard Model. Conservation laws.- Particle decays & lifetimes. Scattering processes. Cross-sections.- Particle acceleration & colliders.- Interactions of particles in matter. Detectors.- Introduction to Feynman diagrams. Electromagnetic processes. Coupling constant alpha (fine structure constant).- Weak interactions. Charged & neutral currents. Pion, muon, tau decays. The CKM matrix.- Strong interactions. Gluons. Colour. Strong coupling alpha_S. Introduction to confinement.- The parton model. e+e - ยป hadrons.- Electron-proton scattering. DIS. Quark model of hadrons. Isospin.- Neutrino mass and oscillations. CP violation. Recent experimental results.- Properties of W & Z bosons. Electroweak unification.- Introduction to Higgs mechanism. Searches for and discovery of the Higgs boson.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 100%, Coursework 0%, Practical Exam 0%

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