|Location:||Loughborough University, Loughborough|
|Funding for:||UK Students|
|Funding amount:||£17,668 tax-free stipend per annum|
|Placed On:||24th February 2023|
|Closes:||31st May 2023|
Accurate analysis of radioactive material is extremely important in the context of nuclear forensics – a vital contributor to law enforcement, intelligence gathering, and anti-terrorism activities relating to trafficked nuclear material. The key performance criteria for a gamma spectrometer for nuclear forensics is its energy resolution – which can make the difference between identifying the source of illegal material or this remaining unknown. This project will capitalise on advances in superconducting devices to design and test the next generation of high-resolution gamma detectors for forensic applications.
At present, most gamma ray spectrometry is conducted using semiconductor detectors such as high purity germanium or scintillation detectors such as NaI. However, recent developments have allowed the use of microcalorimeters to measure gamma ray spectra with much higher resolution than detectors normally used. These microcalorimeters include transition edge sensors and metallic magnetic calorimeters which rely on a change in voltage or magnetization respectively, to measure an incoming photon’s energy. Readout for both these detectors is made using superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs).
Your research will include a mix of computational – Monte Carlo and finite element analysis – and experimental work to investigate the performance of microcalorimeter-based devices. You will make use of the state-of-the-art nanofabrication and facilities at Loughborough, including sputtering systems to prepare superconducting and magnetic films and an electron beam evaporation system to apply electrical contacts to complex detector arrays, to create your own detectors. You will then gain experience working with electrical characterisation tools, cryogenics, and ionising radiation as you assess the performance of your devices.
This field is still in its infancy, and this project will both advance our understanding of the physics of these detectors and build an evidence-base that may lead to the production and use of such sensors for use in nuclear forensics.
Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Fees are reviewed annually and are likely to increase to take into account inflationary pressures.
The studentship is for 4 years and provides a tax-free stipend of £17,668 per annum for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK rate. Due to the nature of this project the studentship is only open to UK nationals. The studentship is subject to contract with the industrial partner and if not signed, the project will be withdrawn. Funding for conference travel, lab materials, and a placement at an industry partner (dependent on security clearance) is also available.
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