Nuclear Physics Group

The Nuclear Physics Group (NPG) performs world leading nuclear physics research and development. The group’s principal role is to provide scientific, technical and engineering expertise to support and co-ordinate the programme of research and projects funded by STFC in the field of nuclear physics for the whole community. This programme is carried out at a number of overseas accelerator facilities and requires the design, construction and installation of specialised equipment at those facilities.

The group undertakes this design and development work for both existing programmes and new initiatives. The NPG is the largest group that supports nuclear physics in the UK and coordinates the engineering and technical effort available at the different UK universities to ensure optimum use of the community’s resource.

The methodology of the NPG is to provide expertise in the key areas for the UK nuclear physics programme and provide a gateway for the UK community to the broad expertise in STFC in Technology Department and other departments.

The NPG has an electronics and data acquisition laboratory, a target preparation laboratory and a detector laboratory.

The key areas within the group are; Nuclear physics; Detector and array design; Electronics and software engineering; Simulations (detectors and detector systems); Whole system design; Project management; Mechanical design and engineering; Target manufacture (a unique facility in the UK).

Key facts

The NPG has expertise in:

  • Nuclear Physics
  • Mechanical design and engineering (FEA, CAD)
  • Detector design and simulations (Ge, Si, CZT, scintillators, gas detectors)
  • Computing hardware (data acquisition systems)
  • Electronics (digital pulse processing; tracking, FPGAs, Time Stamping)
  • Software (data acquisition; general support for all UK groups)
  • Whole system design
  • Project management
  • Target preparation (a unique facility in the UK)

Objectives of the NPG

  • To facilitate high quality scientific and engineering research by providing facilities and technical expertise in support of nuclear physics research
  • To support the UK nuclear physics community in line with the strategy defined by STFC
  • To carry out a world leading research programme in nuclear physics
  • To develop new technologies in the field of nuclear physics research
  • To apply and exploit these technologies and skills in applied areas where appropriate
  • To provide project management and other specialist skills to national and international programmes
  • To provide a gateway for the UK community to utilize the broad expertise in STFC
  • To provide strategic advice to STFC and the wider community in nuclear physics when appropriate

Our mission

  • To promote high quality scientific and engineering research by providing facilities and technical expertise in support of the nuclear physics research programme in line with the agreed UK/STFC strategy
  • To carry out an internationally competitive research programme in nuclear physics
  • To provide a focus for the UK community to utilise the broad expertise in STFC
  • To provide project management and specialist skills for the UK nuclear physics community
  • To apply these technologies and skills to areas outside the nuclear physics academic sector, such as nuclear applications (e.g. for example in the medical, security and environmental fields)
  • To provide project management and other specialist skills to national and international nuclear physics programmes
  • To provide strategic advice to STFC and the wider nuclear physics community where appropriate

The Nuclear Physics Group (NPG) at STFC Daresbury Laboratory performs world leading nuclear physics research and development. The NPG is part of the Technology at Daresbury Division within STFC’s Technology Department. The group’s principal role is to provide scientific, technical and engineering expertise to support and co-ordinate the programme of research and projects funded by STFC in the field of nuclear physics for the whole community.

This programme is carried out at a number of overseas accelerator facilities and requires the design, construction and installation of specialised equipment at those facilities. The group undertakes this design and development work for both existing programmes and new initiatives, including programmes of development aimed at the generation and exploitation of new opportunities. The NPG is the largest support group in the UK and coordinates the engineering and technical effort available at the different UK universities to ensure optimum use of the community’s resource.

The experimental nuclear research community comprises the NPG and the Universities of Birmingham, Brighton, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Surrey, West of Scotland and York.

The UK community performs research in the areas of the study of nuclear structure, nuclear astrophysics, nuclear reactions and hadron physics. The research addresses fundamental questions in science such as, What are the Origins of the Elements? What is the Nature of Nuclear and Hadronic Matter?

The NPG constitutes a crucial part of the research infrastructure for UK nuclear physics. It has very strong links with the University groups and most projects are collaborative ventures. The role provided by the NPG is essential in ensuring continued UK access to overseas facilities by developing instrumentation and in realising and leading an internationally competitive research programme.

The NPG has led the technical development of many of the large-scale experimental infrastructures used by the UK research community over the past decade. It has installed and will continue to support as required equipment in the accelerator laboratories of GANIL, Jyväskylä, Legnaro, GSI, TRIUMF, Oak Ridge, ANU, Argonne and CERN-ISOLDE. These overseas facilities hold the NPG in very high regard and the NPG is often their first contact point for assistance, advice and expertise.

The methodology of the NPG is to provide expertise in the key areas of: Nuclear physics support, co-ordination, project leadership; Mechanical design and engineering; Detector and array design; Computing hardware; Electronics (digital; pulse processing; tracking); Software (data acquisition; GUI production; system integration; general support for universities and local facilities); Simulations (detectors and detector systems); Whole system design; Project management; Target preparation (a unique facility in the UK).

The NPG has played a leading role in major projects and provides ongoing support for many projects, including for generic items such as the MIDAS software platform. The NPG through its development and support of detection systems helps train the UK nuclear physics community. In addition to the specific project work the NPG will provides advice, consultation and effort for preliminary design studies and grant applications for future experiments and projects.

The centralisation of the key expertise with specialisation in nuclear experiments ensures that the UK experimental programme remains at the forefront of technology and avoids duplication of effort and developments. The NPG also provides expertise in simulations in existing and new projects for NuSTAR, SPIRAL2, Jyväskylä and ISOLDE for example. The NPG operates laboratories dedicated to electronics and data acquisition, to target preparation and a detector laboratory all of which support the UK community.

The NPG has applied nuclear physics projects. Recent innovative projects include a hand held radiation monitor based on an integrated CZT/Si semiconductor detector and electronics system (PorGamRays) and a Ge detector development for PET imaging (SmartPET). The former was a DTI grant in collaboration with UK Universities and UK Industry and the latter a MRC supported project. The NPG currently has a grant with The University of Liverpool for the development of a SPECT medical imaging system. This project ProSPECTus was funded by the STFC PNAPAS (now CLASP) scheme.

The physicists in the group pursue internationally recognised research programmes. The active and leading involvement in research and leadership in international projects by members of the NPG is key to its relationship with the academic community and enables the group to keep at the forefront of scientific and technical advances in the subject. Science themes being addressed by the group include the understanding of nuclear matter at the extremes of rotation and isospin (exotic nuclei) and the understanding of nuclear matter.

The NPG provides a point of contact for the UK Nuclear physics community to the broad expertise in STFC by interacting with the other groups in Technology Department and other departments in STFC. The NPG provides direct and efficient contact with experts in for example Microelectronics, Instrumentation, Cryogenics, Accelerator Science, and provides access for the community to the communications directorate of STFC. The NPG has built up direct knowledge of the specialist skills in other groups and departments, which has proven to be beneficial to the wider UK community. Whilst specialising in nuclear physics the engineers and physicists in the NPG are also part of a wider group of engineers and scientists and can benefit from informal exchanges of ideas and the discussion of problems with their peers working in other fields. More details of the group’s activities can be found in the NPG web pages.

The members of the NPG often play a key role in the international nuclear physics arena in terms of advice and committee membership, direction of projects and the development of facilities, and will represent the group, the UK community and or STFC.

STFC Cross Community Post Management Committee

Following the 2011 Nuclear Physics Consolidated Grants round posts were awarded to support the whole UK nuclear physics community.

In order to monitor and manage this resource STFC set-up a cross-community management committee.

Further information can be found on the Cross Community web page (link opens in a new window).

Projects

Publications

The Nuclear Physics Group at Daresbury is a renowned source of new and exciting research. The group publishes a number of papers in refereed journals every year. For more information on the variety of world – leading research the group carries out, visit the NPG website.

Links

Contacts

Professor John Simpson
Head of Nuclear Physics
Tel: +44 (0)1925 603 431

Mr Ian Lazarus
Group Leader
Tel: +44 (0)1925 603 433

How to find us

The Nuclear Physics Group staff and facilities are located at STFC Daresbury Laboratory in the Tower Building.

How to get to Daresbury Laboratory.

Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000