List of PH3110 BSc Projects on offer in 2020/21
Please send any corrections/updates by email to pedro.teixeira-dias@rhul.ac.uk.
Prof. Vladimir Antonov - Nanophysics
- Physics and Technology Related to Terahertz Spectroscopy and the Refractive Index of Teflon
- The Operation of a Single Electron Transistor
Prof. Oleg Astafiev - Nanophysics
- Superconducting Artificial Atoms
Dr Tracey Berry - Particle Physics
- 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++.
Prof. Veronique Boisvert - Particle Physics and Climate Science
- 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++. Prior experience in C++ is not necessary, PH2150 is sufficient.
- Studies related with Climate Science
Investigation into aspects of climate science, focusing on climate change. This is a computing-based project (PH2150 is sufficient). This project is only available to students registered on (or officially auditing) PH3040.
Dr Andrew Casey - Condensed Matter / Low Temperature Physics
- Condensed Matter / Low Temperature Physics
Prof. Glen Cowan - Astrophysics Projects – Reserved for BSc Astrophysics students
- Photometry of the White Dwarf 40 Eri B
The project will include:
- Observation of the 40 Eridani system with RVB filters.
- Characterization of the telescope and CCD camera, Statistical model of CCD output, Student's t model of Point Spread Function.
- Photometry of the White Dwarf 40 Eridani B (and companions A and C).
- Interpretation of measurements, including estimate of WD's temperature, luminosity, radius.
- Measurement of Hertzsprung-Russell diagram for open clusters
The project will include:
- Observation of an open cluster with RBV filters.
- Algorithm for background estimation and star finding.
- Photometry using either aperture method or PSF fit.
- Interpretation of the HR diagram (cluster age, main-sequence slope).
Dr Stephen Gibson - Accelerator Physics
- 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. Jon Goff - Condensed Matter Physics
- Sodium-ion battery materials
The introduction of electric vehicles and renewable sources of energy has led to increased demand for batteries, and sodium is under consideration as a replacement for lithium. This project investigates how sodium ordering affects electrochemical performance. X-ray diffraction experiments will be performed (if possible) and computer simulations will also be performed to model the data.
- Disorder-induced quantum spin liquids
It has recently been proposed that structural disorder can be used induce long-range quantum entanglement. Structural diffuse neutron scattering has been observed from such a candidate quantum spin liquid. This is a theoretical project, and the aim is to understand the defect structures from the diffuse scattering data using computer simulations.
Prof. David Heyes - Molecular Dynamics, Computational Physics
- Molecular Dynamics Simulation and transport coefficients of liquids
For over 50 years the computer simulation technique of Molecular Dynamics (MD) has proved an invaluable tool in understanding liquids and solids. MD acts as a bridge between theory and experiment, and shares some characteristics of the two approaches. The MD method involves solving Newton's equations of motion of a group of interacting model molecules by a time stepping procedure. This project will involve writing an MD program in either Python or C++ to simulate a simple liquid. The code you will write will be used to compute a range of important physical properties. These will include the self-diffusion coefficient of the molecules and possibly other transport coefficients. Computer programming and problem solving skills will be developed. Aspects of the statistical mechanics of liquids will be learned.
- Molecular Dynamics Simulation of confined liquids
There are many situations in nature and technology where a liquid is confined by walls (e.g., synovial fluid in body joints, and lubricants between bearings in engines). The physical properties of confined liquids can be quite different to those in the bulk. 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. The project will involve writing an MD computer simulation code in either Python or C++. Some basic properties of liquids confined between walls, such as the density profile in the gap, will be calculated. Computer programming and problem solving skills will be developed. Aspects of the statistical mechanics of liquids in the bulk and in confinement will be learned.
Dr Andrew Ho - Condensed Matter Theory
Non-equilibrium dynamics and thermalisation in simple quantum systems
- Thermalisation in small quantum systems
This is a theoretical project involving numerical computation and some analytical calculation. The question is this: when a small quantum system is coupled to a larger quantum system, how does the small quantum system thermalise (or not!) after an initial perturbation that takes the system far from equilibrium? As the project involves tools, concepts from statistical physics, quantum mechanics and numerical simulations, you need to be comfortable and proficient in all these. Reference: Genway et al., Physical Review Letters 105, 260402 (2010); Physical Review Letters 111, 130408 (2013).
- Many-body Localisation
Also a theoretical project involving numerical computation. Recent theoretical (and maybe also experimental) research has uncovered a class of quantum many-body systems where a system can never relax to thermal equilibrium: this involves a competition between disorder and strong interaction between the quantum particles. A key question is this: as we change the strength of the interaction, how does the system go from thermalising, to non-thermalising (said to be Many-body Localised)? Again the project involves tools, concepts from statistical physics, quantum mechanics and numerical simulations, so you need to be comfortable and proficient in all these. Reference: Nandkishore Annu. Rev. Condens. Matter Phys. 6:15-38 (2015).
Dr Gregoire Ithier - Condensed Matter Quantum Devices
- Simulating a Josephson Bifurcation Amplifier
Dr Pavel Karataev - Particle Physics
- Advanced simulations of electromagnetic processes in condensed media at ultra-relativistic energies
- Design and experimental test of efficient electromagnetic materials (complex structures and metamaterials) for applications in charged particle accelerators
- Development of a miniature pyroelectric accelerator
Dr Asher Kaboth - Particle Physics
- An investigation into producing a uniform image with a CCD camera using an LED calibrator
Dr Nikolas Kauer - Theoretical Particle Physics
- Higgs Boson Decay: Phenomenology and Theory
This project explores the phenomenological and theoretical structure of Higgs boson decays in the Standard Model (SM). The project requires very good mathematical and programming skills and the ability to carry out basic Feynman diagram calculations. In the phenomenology part of the project you will study the dependence of the partial decay widths and total decay width of the SM Higgs boson on its mass, and analyse the corresponding branching ratios. In the theory part of the project, you will get experience with making theoretical predictions for partial Higgs decay widths. More specifically, you will derive the formulae for the H --> W- W+ and H --> fermion anti-fermion decay modes. Time permitting the scope of the project can be expanded.
Dr Chris Lusher - Low temperature Physics
- 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:
- Extreme sensitivity motion detection system for a Cavendish-type gravity measurement, can we learn something from LIGO?
- Exploring the stability cone of a driven mechanical oscillator (as an analogue of non-linear effects in superconducting resonators)
(see, e.g. https://youtu.be/5oGYCxkgnHQ)
- A precision measurement system for gyroscopic motion, analysing the effects of precession, nutation, asymmetry and loss
- Developing vector calculus visualisation tools, python for div, grad, curl, the Helmholtz decomposition theorem, and all that
Projects A, B, C will require experimental design, construction (with the help of our technical staff), data acquisition, modelling and python data analysis. Project D is code-based.
Prof. Jocelyn Monroe - Particle Physics / Particle Astrophysics
- Measurement of Lead in Drinking Water using Particle Astrophysics Technology
This is a project with the Dark Matter Research group, focused on some of the instrumentation and methods used in dark matter search experiments. The project is lab-based, and will involve measurements of trace levels of radioactivity from lead in the RHUL Dark Matter Lab. There is more information about the project here: http://www.plombox.org/
- Simulation of the DarkSide-50 Dark Matter Search Experiment
This is a project with the Dark Matter Research group, focused on some of the simulation tools and methods used in dark matter search experiments. The project is computer-based, and will involve simulating dark matter interaction signals in the DarkSide-50 dark matter experiment.
Dr James Nicholls - Nanophysics
- 1D Ballistic Wires
Measure or model the electrical and thermal transport properties of a one dimensional device.
- 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 - Condensed Matter Physics
- Simulation of neutron scattering of magnetic materials
Projects will involve application of available software to specific problems and coding of new simulation tools. Simulations will be compared to neutron scattering data of metallic systems near magnetic quantum phase transitions with relevance to critical phenomena and magnetically mediated superconductivity.
Dr Xavier Rojas - Condensed Matter / Low Temperature Physics
- Hydrodynamic Quantum Analogy
A recent discovery shows that a droplet bouncing at the surface of a vibrating fluid bath could interact with its own wave field in such a way that it exhibits quantum-like behaviour. While these features were previously thought to be exclusive to the microscopic world, they can now be observed using this quantum analog system (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIyTZDHuarQ ). The project will involve building a low-cost apparatus to realise this experiment and find the regime of parameters where quantum-like features can be observed. The student will learn problem solving and data analysis skills.
Prof. John Saunders - Condensed Matter / Low Temperature Physics
- Condensed Matter / Low Temperature Physics
Dr Giovanni Sordi - Condensed Matter Theory, Computational Physics
- The Ising model: a gateway to phase transitions and critical phenomena
This is a project in theoretical and computational physics. 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, PH3710, and a C++ course is strongly recommended.
- Numerical study of percolation on a square lattice
This is a computational physics project. Percolation is a central problem in statistical mechanics. This computational project explores numerical algorithms (Hoshen-Kopelman, Newman-Ziff) for studying site percolation on a square lattice. This is a challenging project, requiring a good understanding of statistical mechanics, and strong enthusiasm for mathematics and computation. Attending PH3210, PH3710, and a C++ course is strongly recommended.
Prof. Pedro Teixeira-Dias - Particle Physics, Computational Physics
- 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.
- 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.
Both projects require writing a computer program from scratch. Therefore, computer-programming skills are a pre-requisite for both projects.
-- Pedro Teixeira-Dias - 09 Jul 2020