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PhD position on Nuclear low-Energy Collisions Theory for Antiprotonic Research (NECTAR)

This offer is available in the following languages:
Français - Anglais

Date Limite Candidature : mardi 7 décembre 2021

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General information

Reference : UMR9012-CHRROB-006
Workplace : ORSAY
Date of publication : Tuesday, November 16, 2021
Scientific Responsible name : HUPIN Guillaume
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 February 2022
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

A century ago, in his Bakerian lecture on the “Nuclear Constitution of Atoms” at the Royal Society, E. Rutherford postulated the existence of the neutron. Now more than ever, there remains a large uncertainty on our knowledge concerning neutrons and how they organize in nuclei. Scientists still seek to solve a decade-old puzzle on the neutron lifetime [1], and recent investigations have reported unexpected anomalies that could point to the existence of a new protophobic boson [2] that couples to neutrons [3]. At the same time, precise knowledge of neutron skin development in nuclei is key for understanding exotic quantum structure, and properties of neutron stars [4,5]. New discoveries on this front rely on the combination of accurate data and precision modelling, as investigations require the difficult task of simultaneous treating the strong force and the many-nucleon problem.

Direct (or clean) measurements of the neutron distribution are limited to electroweak probes. Unfortunately, due to the physics involved, experimental studies are only possible for some mid-mass to heavy nuclei [6] and, so far, favor larger neutron radii than predicted by currently accepted models. An ambitious new experimental project at CERN, PUMA [7] seeks to probe the neutron distribution in exotic nuclei with antiprotons. PUMA will measure the neutral-to-charged annihilation ratio of antiprotons with exotic nuclei, and via an accurate nuclear structure and reaction model hopes to extract the neutron-to-proton density ratio at the surface of the. Our goal is to work out the annihilation properties of antiprotonic atoms up to the first halo nuclei starting from the interactions between nucleons and nucleon-antinucleon with ab initio methods.

Under my supervision the PhD student will tackle the inclusion of NN ̅ potential in our ab initio methods; develop the capability to calculate antiprotonic resonances and perform applications to stable-nucleus antiprotonic atoms. Furthermore, as PUMA is now reviving the interest of the community in physics of matter/antimatter interactions, our theoretical endeavor on this frontier, largely unexplored, may open new opportunities to understand the physics of matter-antimatter systems, and the problem of baryogenesis in the universe.

This PHD project has been selected by the ANR under the AAPG 2021 funding scheme for a 42-months funding starting in Autumn 2021. I am the sole PI of the project, which includes collaborators from CNRS at IJClab and IPHC.
[1] A. Witze, Nature, vol. 568, pp. 442-443, 2019.
[2] A.J. Krasznahorkay et al., Phys. Rev. Lett., vol. 116, p. 042501, 2016.
[3] C. Solaro et al., Phys. Rev. Lett., vol. 125, p. 123003, 2020.
[4] F.J. Fattoyev, J. Piekarewicz, and C.J. Horowitz, Phys. Rev. Lett., vol. 120, p. 172702 , 2018.
[5] S. Abrahamyan and et al., Phys. Rev. Lett., vol. 108, p. 112502, 2012.
[6] M. Cadeddu and et al., Phys. Rev. Lett., vol. 120, p. 072501, 2018.
[7] A. Obertelli, CERN report, no. CERN-INTC-2018-023. INTC-M-018, 2018.

Work Context

The Irène Joliot-Curie Physics Laboratory of 2 Infinities (IJCLab) is a UMR under the supervision of the CNRS (IN2P3), the University of Paris-Saclay and the University of Paris is located on the campus of the University of Paris -Saclay in Orsay. The laboratory is located on the campus of the Université Paris-Sud, Université Paris-Saclay in Orsay. The campus is located 20 km south of Paris and easily accessible by RER in 35 minutes.
IJCLab was born in 2020 from the merger of five units (CSNSM, IMNC, IPN, LAL, LPT). The staff is made up of nearly 560 permanent (340 engineers, technicians and administrators and 220 researchers and teacher-researchers) and approximately 200 non-permanent including 120 doctoral students. The research themes of the laboratory are nuclear physics, high energy physics, theoretical physics, astroparticles, astrophysics and cosmology, particle accelerators, energy and the environment and health. IJCLab has very significant technical capacities (around 280 IT) in all the major fields required to design, develop / implement the experimental devices necessary for its scientific activity, as well as the design, development and use of instruments.
The team Strong Interacting Matter focus on nuclear theory and its applications to others fields of physics. Our team, which is staffed with M. Grasso, E. Khan, D. Lacroix, P. Napolitani, M. Urban, U. van Kolck and G. Hupin, is internationally recognized for its leadership in state-of-the-art theoretical methods in nuclear structure and reactions, nuclear astrophysics and dynamics. Our group specializes in many-body theories (from nuclear density functional to ab initio methods coupled to effective field theory) and related numerical and formal techniques. We are particularly fond of interdisciplinary connections and emerging technologies, e.g. ultra-cold gases of bosonic or fermionic atoms, machine learning technologies and quantum computing. At the same time, we work in close connection with IJClab experimentalists, particularly on the microscopic interpretation and prediction of nuclear physics data.
I am a young researcher hired three years ago as a CRCN working within the team. I am invested in a long-term and internationally recognized collaboration modeling nuclear reactions with ab initio methods starting from the most fundamental interaction between neutrons and protons. In the past seven years, our team has been leading the way in the application of the ab initio paradigm to the field of nuclear reaction theory. As of today, we are still the only ones to have developed a computational approach able to describe channels involving binary and ternary reactions between nuclei totaling more than four nucleons, all in terms of constituent protons and neutrons interacting through a nuclear interaction derived from chiral effective field theory. As of today, the most advanced ab initio methods, which aim to link the properties of nuclei to the strong force, can only compute a limited set of nuclear systems. This limitation becomes particularly acute for reacting systems (as opposed to static properties of nuclei).

Constraints and risks

The successful candidate shall be enrolled in a PhD program of the PHENIICS doctoral school of the University Paris-Saclay.
Travel is to be expected (in the 3rd year) in the framework of a collaboration with the University of Groningen in the Netherlands to achieve the objectives assigned to the last year of the PhD.

Additional Information

The candidate must have a degree equivalent to a Master in subatomic/quantum/condensed matter physics. The post requires sound knowledge in theoretical physics, computing and High-Performance Computing (HPC), a high level of communication skills, both oral and written (English required, French courses are provided to candidate from abroad) to be able to present at conferences and write scientific articles for publication in refereed journals. We are looking for a PhD fellow who will be able to become fully involved with the project, eager to learn, with a degree of independence thinking and strong motivation to develop skills in research as well as the required technical skills computing/HPC etc... In addition, the candidate must be able to work in a team.
Applications must include a detailed CV; at least two references (people who may be contac-ted); a cover letter of one page; a one-page résumé of the Master dissertation; (undergraduate and) Master records.
IJCLab is subjected to background check. Therefore, the date of employment written above should be understood as provisional.

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