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Internal Summer Placement Projects 2014

Below is the list of internal summer placement projects for 2014.  

Title: C++ simulation studies for the DEAP-3600 dark matter experiment

Supervisor:  Dr Joseph Walding / Dark Matter Group

Duration: 8 weeks

Awarded to:  Shane McGillion and Dipen Patel

Dark matter makes up 85% of the matter of the Universe but as yet we have not determined what it is.  DEAP-3600 is a dark matter experiment based at SNOLAB in Ontario, Canada which hopes to shed light on this question.  We are looking for two students to work within the RHUL Dark Matter group helping to develop C++ simulation and analysis tools.  Possible problems to tackle include studies of simulated dark matter and background events, the development of calibration data analysis tools and improvements to our detector simulation.  DEAP-3600's software is written in C++ and uses GEANT4 and ROOT for simulating and analysing data.  Experience in C++ is required.

: Studying Top quark events at ATLAS

Supervisor: Dr Veronique Boisvert

Duration: 8 weeks

Awarded to:  Matthew Sparks

This project will focus on using simulated events from ATLAS and using C++ code to analyse those events. The student will learn more about the particle physics done at the LHC and focus on learning about the top quark, in terms of its production, its decay and interesting signatures and its connection with the Higgs boson. Although an interest in programming is necessary as this project is purely computing based, prior knowledge of C++ is not required. 

Title: Applications of Quantum Field Theory in Theoretical Particle Physics

Supervisor: Dr Nikolas Kauer

Duration: 4-8 weeks

Awarded to:  Jan Heck

The project introduces the student to advanced concepts and methods in quantum mechanics and lets the student get experience with applications in theoretical particle physics.  The student will work on one of the final projects in the standard introductory textbook of theoretical particle physics [1].  Available topics  are: Radiation of gluon jets, The Coleman-Weinberg potential, and Decays of the Higgs boson.  Other topics are possible and can be agreed with the supervisor.

[1] Michael E Peskin and Daniel V Schroeder:   An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory, Westview Press, 1995.  (Library: 530.143 PE

Title: Novel electronic states including unconventional superconductivity at the border of magnetism

Supervisor: Dr Philipp Niklowitz

Duration: 8 weeks

Awarded to: Federica Raimondi

This research activity in which this project will be embedded has the aim to explore novel states of electronic matter including unconventional superconductivity. We focus in particular on electronic systems in the vicinity of magnetic order. Some states like conventional metallic states or conventional superconductivity are already well understood. However, magnetic interactions between conduction electrons, which are enhanced near magnetic quantum phase transitions can lead to more exotic states of matter.

Experimentally, magnetic quantum phase transitions are reached by cooling a magnetically ordered material to low temperatures and tune the system at low temperatures. We use high-pressure techniques for tuning. The project student will become familiar with high-pressure and low-temperature techniques. The student will have the opportunity to contribute to the exploration of pressure-temperature phase diagrams of promising candidate materials, which might include recently discovered Fe-based superconductors.

Title: Condensed Matter Physics

Supervisor: Dr Andrew Casey

Duration: 8 weeks

Awarded to:  Liam Duffy / Patrick Trollope 

Experimental low temperature physics. We have activities developing SQUID based measurement techniques for thermometers, nano-mechanical resonators and NMR. 

Title: Condensed Matter Physics

Supervisor: Dr James Nicholls

Duration: 8 weeks

Awarded to:  Niloofar Rajaeifar

As part of a collaboration (samples and theory from Cambridge & UCL) we wish to cool the electrons in semiconductor devices down to less than 1 mK. This has never been achieved before and in low-dimensional systems such as 1D wires and 0D quantum dots it is predicted that electrons will order into new quantum states.  In this project there will be a variety of activities that will contribute to the setting up of preliminary measurements on new equipment: testing semiconductor devices at 4.2 K, making and testing filters for low noise measurements, writing software to control equipment or analyse data, modelling, etc.  There will be opportunities to develop new skills and to work in a team of researchers (post docs, academics, technicians).

Title:  Defects in Spin Ice

Supervisor: Professor Jon Goff

Duration: 8 weeks

Awarded to:  Katherine Brown

The proposal for the observation of magnetic monopoles in spin ice [1] has enjoyed much success in the intermediate temperature regime [2,3].  However, low-temperature measurements now point to the importance of defects in monopole dynamics, in providing extrinsic resistance for monopole currents [4].  This project is to study the defect structures of spin ice materials using x-ray diffraction.  The work will include the measurements of single crystals using the x-ray equipment at Royal Holloway, structural refinement of the Bragg reflections, and computer simulations of the diffuse scattering.

[1] C. Castelnovo et al., Nature 451, 42 (2008)
[2] D.J.P. Morris et al., Science 326, 411 (2009)
[3] T. Fennel et al., Science 326, 415 (2009)
[4] H.M. Revell et al., Nature Physics 9, 34 (2013


Title:  Characterising the FETS RFQ using a Bead-Pull test system

Supervisor:  Dr Stephen Gibson

Duration:  8 weeks

Awarded to:  Charlotte Nedd

FETS is a new high-power proton accelerator under development at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, in collaboration with UK partners including RHUL. This project will characterise the Radio Frequency Quadrupole (RFQ) for use at the Front End Test Stand (FETS). The measurement of the RFQ consists of pulling a small dielectric bead through the RFQ while RF measurements are made by a Vector Network Analyzer (VNA), to determine the frequency shift of the resonant cavities.  The bead is attached to a thread and is positioned by five motors which can locate the bead anywhere within the RFQ’s cavities.  Software has been written in LabVIEW to control the motors and VNA.  The student will be required to operate the bead-pull system and perform measurements on the RFQ to determine the field within the cavities.

The student would benefit from the direct support of experts in the John Adams Institute for Accelerator Science and others in the wider FETS UK community. Attendance by the student and presentation of results at monthly collaborative meetings at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory will be encouraged. 

Programming project: Non-physics data manipulation and analysis

Supervisor: Dr Veronique Boisvert

Duration: 8 weeks

Awarded to:  Jamileh Taaki

The student will be given an Excel spreadsheet containing non-physics related data in various formats (integers and characters). A program will need to be written to extract useful information from this spreadsheet into a format that the ROOT program can then analyse (ROOT is a program used by particle physicists to build histograms and analyse data). The student will also carry out this detailed ROOT analysis of this non-physics related data. Although only the 2nd year python module is a pre-requisite, having taken the C++ module will be useful. 

Title: Development of python control system for RHUL teaching telescope

Supervisor: Dr. Stewart Boogert

Duration: 8 weeks

Awarded to:  William Parker / Jean Duffy


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