List of PH3110 BSc Projects on offer in 2019/20

Dr Vladimir Antonov - Nanophysics

  1. Physics and Technology Related to Terahertz Spectroscopy and the Refractive Index of Teflon
  2. The Operation of a Single Electron Transistor

Prof Oleg Astafiev - Nanophysics

  1. Superconducting Artificial Atoms

Dr Tracey Berry - Particle Physics

  1. Search for New Physics using the ATLAS detector
    Learn how to identify known particles in the ATLAS detector and then investigate beyond the Standard Model particles/physics (such as new Z' bosons or gravitons) from studying their decay products (particles). This project involves writing code in C++.

Dr Veronique Boisvert - Particle Physics

  1. Studies related with the top quark using the ATLAS detector and simulated data
    Investigation into aspects of top quark physics involving writing code in C++.

Prof Stewart Boogert/Prof Glen Cowan/Dr Daniel Bedingham - Astrophysics Projects – Preference given to Astrophysics Students

  1. Optimising imaging with the RHUL 12-inch telescope
    Taking detailed images of astronomical objects like stellar clusters, nebula and galaxies requires careful optimisation of the RHUL 12-inch telescope. This includes measurement of the telescope tracking drift, smallest best achievable focus, focus with different filters and flat fielding. The ultimate aim of this project is to determine the limiting factors to taking the best possible images with the RHUL teaching scope. There is possibility to develop new measurements and data analysis in Python as well as astronomical observations.
  2. Solar Limb darkening and spectra
    The Sun is the only star which can be studied in detail. A feature of the Sun which has been long known is that it is darker at the perimeter compared to the centre. By measuring the variation in the brightness of the Sun across it’s diameter it is possible to measure the temperature of the Sun as a function of optical depth. The temperature and other properties of the Sun can be determined from taking spectra of Hydrogen lines. This requires coupling a spectrometer to the telescope and fitting Gaussian and Lorentzian line profiles. Students will develop image analysis in python and least squares fitting of functions in Python.
  3. Lunar and planetary imaging
    The moon and planets are bright objects to image within the solar system. The main obstacle to capturing clear images of the moon and planets is distortion by the atmosphere. This distortion can be measured by taking a rapid sequence (at 10 to 100 Hz) of photographs and performing a 2-dimensional Fourier transform and selecting and adding only the sharpest images. Measurements can be taken with a mobile telescope away from the heat of Tolansky Laboratory and other buildings on campus. You will develop video processing and analysis codes in Python and the ultimate aim is to take the best possible image of a planet. A possible extension would be the measurement of planetary spectra.

Dr Stephen Gibson - Accelerator Physics

  1. Simulations of laser particle beam interactions for medical and other applications
    Non-invasive laserwire diagnostics to measure the properties of relativistic particle beams have been developed in recent years at the John Adams Institute for Accelerator Science at Royal Holloway, and demonstrated at Linac4, the new injector for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Software tools have been developed to simulate the interaction of the laser with the hydrogen ion beam and calculate the yield of neutralised particles. This project will extend the existing simulations to study novel diagnostics methods and/or the possibility of using a laser to generate and control a particle beam for medical and other applications. Some experience in python / C++ code would be useful and / or would be gained throughout the project.

Prof David Heyes

  1. Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics study of Bounded liquids
    Liquids can be modelled using what are called 'particle based' computer simulation techniques, which treat the liquid at the individual molecule level. Many interacting molecules are considered in the simulation. For example, the technique of 'Molecular Dynamics' (MD) follows the trajectories of the individual molecules by solving Newton's equations of motion for their (coupled) trajectories. A more recent closely related technique is 'Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics' (SPH) which is technically very similar to MD but represents macroscopic regions of the liquid as pseudo molecules. The project will involve writing an MD/SPH computer simulation code in C++. The specific application will be to study hydrodynamic flow behaviour of liquids flowing near a solid wall. A deep understanding of MD and SPH, and fluid hydrodynamics will be obtained in this project. Computer programming skills will be developed. Problem solving skills will be learnt.
  2. Equations of state of small molecule fluids
    The objective of this project is to develop new equations of state of simple fluids building on the famous van der Waals equation of state, and more recent extensions of it. This will involve some not too demanding computing and mathematics, and plotting of data. The project will involve deriving formulae for the effective partition function for each equation of state. This can be used to derive analytic formulae for a number of thermodynamic properties, such as internal energy and heat capacity at constant volume and pressure. Comparisons between different equations of state will be made. Problem solving skills will be learnt.
  3. Second virial coefficients of simple fluids
    The ideal gas equation of state is well known. The second virial coefficient is an additional term added on to this which captures the effect of intermolecular interactions on the pressure, making the equation of state unique to each type of molecule. This project will involve deriving formulae for the second virial coefficient for some interaction potentials, and exploring its properties. In particular some interactions used to represent the effective interactions between colloidal and polymer molecules in solution will be investigated. This work will involve some not too demanding mathematics, computation and plotting of data. Problem solving skills will be learnt.
  4. The isotropic-nematic transition of long thin rods
    Molecules or particles which are long and thin exist in nature (e.g., tobacco virus and nanocellulose crystals in solution). The length to diameter ratio can exceed 100. Onsager in 1949 derived dome simple yet accurate formulae which predict the density of the long rods where they go from being randomly orientated to all lining up parallel to each other. The latter is a liquid crystal phase, called the 'nematic' phase. Some extensions and applications of this theory will be investigated in this project. This project will involve some not too demanding mathematics, data analysis and plotting of results. Problem solving skills will be learnt.

Dr Andrew Ho - Condensed Matter Theory

  1. Non-equilibrium dynamics and thermalisation in simple quantum systems

Dr Gregoire Ithier - Condensed Matter Quantum Devices

  1. Simulating a Josephson Bifurcation Amplifier

Dr Pavel Karataev - Particle Physics

  1. Advanced simulations of electromagnetic processes in condensed media at ultra-relativistic energies
  2. Design and experimental test of efficient electromagnetic materials (complex structures and metamaterials) for applications in charged particle accelerators
  3. Development of a miniature pyroelectric accelerator

Dr Asher Kaboth - Particle Physics

  1. An investigation into producing a uniform image with a CCD camera using an LED calibrator

Dr Chris Lusher - Low temperature Physics

  1. Earth’s Field Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
    The student will learns the principles of Nuclear Magnetic resonance (NMR) and study a variety of materials using an Earth’s Field NMR Spectrometer. Initial measurements will be concerned with improving the resolution and data acquisition associated with the spectrometer, with a view to observing signals from the phosphorus nuclei in phosphoric acid and doing simple imaging experiments with water phantoms.

Prof Philip Meeson - Quantum Devices/Low Temperature Physics

Possible projects include:

  1. Extreme sensitivity motion detection system for a Cavendish-type gravity measurement, can we learn something from LIGO?
  2. Exploring the stability cone of a driven mechanical oscillator (as an analogue of non-linear effects in superconducting resonators)
    (see, e.g.
  3. A precision measurement system for gyroscopic motion, analysing the effects of precession, nutation, asymmetry and loss

All projects will require experimental design, construction (with the help of our technical staff), data acquisition, modelling and python data analysis.

Prof Jocelyn Monroe - Particle Physics / Particle Astrophysics

  1. Particle Physics / Particle Astrophysics

Dr James Nicholls - Nanophysics

  1. 1D Ballistic Wires
    Measure or model the electrical and thermal transport properties of a one dimensional device.
  2. Resistance of a Two-Dimensional Electron Gas
    Solve Laplace’s equations subject to boundary conditions to find how the currect flows in different geometries. Needs Python and/or FlexPDE.

Dr Philipp Niklowitz - Low Temperature Physics

  1. Thermodynamic properties of weakly magnetic metals
    You will investigate the thermodynamic properties from room temperature to low temperatures of a weakly magnetic metal, in which the interactions between electrons can lead to deviations from normal metallic behaviour.
  2. Electrical transport properties of metals at the border of a quantum phase transition
    In this project, you will use resistivity measurements of metals close to a quantum phase transition, a phase transition at low temperatures. You will measure the temperature and magnetic-field dependence in order to investigate excitations characteristic for quantum phase transitions.

Prof Keith Refson - Theory of Condensed Matter

  1. Investigation into the effects of a rogue body on the stability of the Solar System using 2-Dimensional n-body simulations
    Stability of the solar system using N-body computer simulation.
  2. Crystal structures and properties of Li- and Na- battery anode materials by atomistic computer simulation

Computer coding skills are a pre-requisite for both projects.

Prof John Saunders - Condensed Matter / Low Temperature Physics

  1. Condensed Matter / Low Temperature Physics

Dr Giovanni Sordi - Theory of Condensed Matter

  1. The Ising model: a gateway to phase transitions and critical phenomena
    The Ising model is the archetype of systems that exhibit a phase transition and has inspired generations of physicists. This theory project approaches the statistical mechanics and computational physics of the Ising model. This project requires a good understanding of statistical mechanics, and enthusiasm for mathematics and computation. Attending PH3210 and PH3710 is strongly recommended.

Prof Pedro Teixeira-Dias - Particle Physics

  1. Time evolution of quantum-mechanical wave packets in 1D
    The aim of this project is to write a computer program that calculates the time-evolution of a quantum-mechanical particle in one dimension, for different choices of potential. The student will use wave packets to describe a non-relativistic particle of non-zero mass m and momentum p. The program will be used to prepare plots of the probability density for the particle, as a function of time. Using the program the student will then demonstrate some of the following: dispersion of the wave packet, scattering at a potential step, tunnelling through a barrier, etc.
  2. Numerical simulation of a fission chain reaction in a nuclear pile
    The aim of this project is to write a computer program to implement a numerical simulation of a fission chain reaction in a 2D nuclear pile. A real nuclear pile -- in order to be able to sustain a nuclear chain reaction with a steady release of energy -- must include different components: fissionable fuel, a neutron moderating material, and "control rods" for neutron absorption. A basic output of the program will be the energy released as a function of time. Once the program has been written the student will be able to use it as a tool to investigate: what are the conditions required for achieving a steady-state energy release; how the dimensions of the pile affect its energy output; how the density, or geometric configuration, of the pile components affects the performance of the pile, etc.

Computer programming skills are a pre-requisite for both projects.

Dr Stephen West - Theoretical Particle Physics

  1. General Relativity: Particle Motion Near Black Holes
  2. Astro-Particle Physics: Dark Matter Model Building

-- Pedro Teixeira-Dias - 04 Jun 2019

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Topic revision: r1 - 06 Jun 2019 - PedroTeixeiraDias

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