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ERC NSHAPE: Muonic x-ray spectroscopy of radiolanthanides (ref. BAP-2023-545)

The KU Leuven Institute for Nuclear and Radiation Physics (IKS) specializes in the production and use of radioactive ion beams for the study of nuclear structure and nuclear reactions, as well as the use of radioisotopes and radiation as probes for the study of fundamental symmetries at the low-energy particle level. The Interdisciplinary Research Group of Prof Thomas Cocolios is expanding this research into new domains, including the production of novel medical radioisotopes with the isotope separation online (ISOL) technique. Research is performed at the CERN ISOLDE and MEDICIS facilities, as well as at the Belgian Nuclear Research Center SCK CEN located in Mol. The research outputs are part of larger collaborations including radiochemistry, radiopharmacy, and research hospital partners locally (UZ Leuven, UZ Brussel, UZ Ghent) and at the European and international levels (PRISMAP, LISA ITN). The Interdisciplinary Research Group also features a fundamental research programme into the shape of radioisotopes by means of resonance ionization spectroscopy in the ion-source (PI-LIST) and in collinear geometry (CRIS), as well as with muonic x-ray spectroscopy at the Paul Scherrer Institute (Villigen, CH). The group is also involved in decay spectroscopy studies as input for nuclear data for medical applications, as identification and counting for laser spectroscopy, or in the search of exotic decay modes like beta-delayed fission.


Within the IKS Interdisciplinary Research Group, you will investigate the size and shape of radiolanthanides using the most exotic probe of them all: the muon! But what for? To benchmark the study of those radiolanthanides all the way to the proton drip line, where the proton is no longer bound by the nuclear force, but only by the a Coulomb barrier across which it must first tunnel. But where is the proton? Does it change the size of nucleus already? Nobody knows and you could be the first person to measure it! This investigation will be carried out by combining the world's most intense muon source from the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland with targets made of radioactive lanthanide atoms: radioactive beam on radioactive target!
In particular, you will investigate the production of the targets for the experimental campaigns, prepare the experiment and participate in the data collection, analyse the data and discuss the findings.


You are interested in joining an international team of researchers at the cutting edge of science and technology? You have a critical mind and you hold a Masters degree in laser, atomic, nuclear, particle physics or equivalent? Then join us: We are looking for a self-motivated PhD candidate with interest in nuclear physics and x-/gamma-ray detection techniques.


We offer a fully-funded, 4-year PhD scholarship, to be held at KU Leuven. The successful candidate will be part of the Interdisciplinary Research Group performing its research at the Paul Scherrer Institiute, but will also have the opportunity to interact with laser spectroscopy teams from IKS and participate in their programmes at CERN and GANIL. The candidate will join the Arenberg Doctoral School, which offers a wide array of training opportunities for professional growth. IKS promotes its young researchers by giving them opportunities to report on their findings regularly in internal meetings and international events (workshops, conferences), and supports them thoroughly in their scientific development.
The position will remain open until filled or until the deadline.

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Thomas Elias Cocolios, tel.: +32 16 32 31 16, mail: thomas.cocolios@kuleuven.be.

You can apply for this job no later than January 31, 2024 via the online application tool.

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

Apply before: 01/02/2024

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