I have put together a number of projects for fourth and fifth year students studying physics at Edinburgh. You can find details below:
4th Year Laboratory Projects
The following experiments are available for 4th year students
on a first come first served basis.
- Muon Lifetime Measurement
The muon is one of the elementary particles and a very clean probe to study
the weak interaction.
Cosmic ray muons are produced in the upper atmosphere.
Some of these muons reach sea level such that their
properties can be measured in the laboratory.
The aim of this project is to measure the muon lifetime.
Muons are stopped in a large block of scintillator,
where they subsequently decay into an electron/positron
and two neutrinos.
A short light pulse is produced by the stopping muon which
is detected and amplified by a photomultiplier tube.
When the muon decays a second pulse is produced by
the emitted electron or positron. The signals from the photo multiplier
are fed into an electronic circuit which determines
the time delay between the two pulses. The circuit is
connected to a PC which is used to read out the data.
You can also measure the energy spectrum of the emitted electron
or positron which allows to infer the mass of the muon.
For more details about this project, see
Muon Lifetime Measurement - (ps) or
Four sets of equipment are available:
Please send me an email if you are interested.
- Muon lifetime, home built
- Muon mass or lifetime with NaJ crystal, home built
- Muon lifetime, Teachspin - two sets.
The manual of the Teachspin apparatus is available
4th Year MPhys Group Projects
The following 4th year MPhys group projects have been proposed and/or
carried out under my supervision
Antimatter Powered Rockets
If interplanetary travel is to become common place in the next 100 years,
then efficient forms of propulsion must be found.
Up to the present time rocket propulsion has mainly been derived from
chemical reactions. However, other forms of propellants based on
electromagnetism, nuclear fission, nuclear fusion or antimatter
may allow spaceships to reach other planets or even more distant stars.
The science minister has
asked you to review the current status of antimatter propulsion as
a source of propellant for a future space mission to Mars within the next
20 years. The journey time should not exceed six months.
As a result of the 1973 fuel crisis, there was the initiation
of a trend towards the building of more fuel efficient and enviromentally
friendly vehicles. Apart from the escalating cost and continuing
depletion of fossil fuels, the fuels themselves are a major source
of pollution, especially within large cities, and are recognised as one
of the principle contributors to the greenhouse effect. The average family
car can produce twice its weight in carbon dioxide each year, among a
host of other damaging gases, which are pumped directly into the atmosphere.
With mounting public sensitivity to these issues coupled with the
strengthening of legislation to protect the environment, motor manufacturers
are now investing heavily in new types of vehicles which do not solely rely
on either petrol or diesel engines for their propulsion.
Along with the development of alternative renewable fuels for internal
combustion engines, there has been investment in new propulsion technologies
using, for example, electricity, compressed gases and hybrid systems
incorporating both combustable fuels and an electrical energy source.
Neutrino oscillations have been observed at several experiments over
the last years. As a consequence there has been growing enthusiasm in the
science community over the prospect
of constructing a muon storage ring which would produce a unprecedented flux
of neutrinos, i.e. the name: neutrino factory.
This machine would aim a high luminosity neutrino beam onto a underground detector
which would for example allow to search for CP violation in neutrinos.
5th Year MPhys Projects
The PPE group offers final year MPhys projects
where students get to work within the
LHCb or BaBar experiment.
These projects provide a very good
opportunity to get involved in the current analysis techniques
and in the computing software and e-science/Grid
tools that are being used in particle physics.
I currently supervise six postgraduate students on the LHCb and the BaBar experiment. If you are interested in doing a Ph.D. or a MSci by Research in
Particle Physics Experiments, click