Faculty Sponsor: Anthony Kuchera
An essential question of nuclear structure is that of existence, describing which nuclear systems are bound, energetically able to exist, and which are not. Measuring the decay energy of neutron-rich nuclei near the neutron dripline separating bound and unbound isotopes provides needed observations for improving models of the nucleus to better understand the nuclear force. This experiment was conducted in November 2017 at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) in East Lansing, MI. Various nuclei were produced in nuclear reactions allowing several nuclei to be studied from the same data set. This data analysis aims to measure the decay energy of nuclei near the neutron dripline to further document the nuclear landscape. The goal of this semesters work was to achieve particle identification, first by element identification and then by isotope separation. In the experiment, reaction particles passed through the powerful Sweeper magnet. Since magnetic rigidity of a charged particle is proportional to its momentum over charge, particle mass is related to time of flight. The goal this summer will be to measure the decay energy of a selected neutron-rich nuclei near the neutron dripline. Based on the available data, the most promising element to focus on are the isotopes of sodium produced in this experiment.