Doctorate in Applied and Engineering Physics  

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Thesis Proposal for the

Doctorate Program in Applied and Engineering Physics (DAEPHYS)

Starting in the Academic Year 2016/2017

Proposal 010

Title:High precision tests of QED – Measurements of the hyperfine splitting (HFS) of the μp and μ3He+ ground states and the transition energies in highly-charged ions
Objectives (recommended length: 2000-3000 char):
The recent scientific and technological developments in the study of exotic states of matter like muonic atoms and highly charged ions have enabled the possibility of making measurements of several parameters with unprecedented accuracy. The absolute (reference-free) energy measurement of a heliumlike argon transition with an accuracy of 2.5 ppm in the SIMPA (Multicharged Ion Source of Paris) at the Laboratoire Kastler Brossel (École Normale Supérieur, Université Pierre and Marie Curie (UPMC) and CNRS), using a double-crystal spectrometer (DCS) is one example[1]. Another well-know example is the recent measurement of the proton root-mean-square (rms) charge radius with an uncertainty of 0.1% (20 times better than the previous values) by the Charge Radius Experiment with Muonic Atoms (CREMA) collaboration in the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI). These has led to a disagreement with other methods of 7 error bars (the so called proton size puzzle) [2, 3]

Motivated by these successes, the CREMA collaboration intends to measure the hyperfine splitting (HFS) of the μp and μ3He+ ground states. In parallel, the SIMPA group aims to extend the accurate transition energy measurements to other highly ions with few electrons of Fe, S, Kr and Xe. These measurements will aim at testing QED and finding what could lead to such a large disagreement.

One aim of this work is to participate in the CREMA experiments, not only to take part in the runs and respective data taken, but also to collaborate in the data analysis following the runs, e.g., [4,5]. It is also intended to elaborate a new code to operate the SIMPA DCS in a more efficient and accurate way, namely to pilot automatically the alignment and the microstepping motor control unit for both crystal axes and detector rotation stages and to assist the data taken process.

[1] Absolute measurement of the “relativistic M1” transition energy in heliumlike argon, P. Amaro, et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 043005 (2012).
[2] Proton Structure from the Measurement of 2S-2P Transition Frequencies of Muonic Hydrogen, A. Antognini, et al. Science 339, 417-420 (2013).
[3] The size of the proton, R. Pohl, et al. Nature 466, 213-216 (2010).
[4] "Improved x-ray detection and particle identification with avalanche photodiodes", M. Diepold, et al, Rev. Sci. Instrum. 86, 053102 (2015)..
[5] "Quantum interference shifts in laser spectroscopy with elliptical polarization", P. Amaro, F. Fratini, L. Safari, A. Antognini, P. Indelicato, R. Pohl, and J. P. Santos, Phys. Rev. A 92, 062506 (2015)

Framework (recommended length: 500-2000 char):
This work is supported in part by the FCT projects PTDC/FIS-NUC/1534/2014 and UID/FIS/04559/2013 (LIBPhys).
Tasks (recommended length: 1000-3000 char):
1. Participation in the CREMA experiment runs
2. Collaboration of the analysis of the CREMA experiment data
3. Study of the DCS
4. Construct a code in Labview or Python to control the SIMPA DCS
5. Participation in the SIMPA experiment runs
6. Dissertation writing
Research centre/lab or R&D unit hosting the thesis project:
Department of Physics, UNL
University to which the thesis project will be presented:
UNL - Universidade Nova de Lisboa
DAEPHYS Scientific Domain in which the project fits:
Relation of the project to the Scientific Domains of DAEPHYS:
The project fits into the theme of radiation and atomic techniques since it aims the development of an X-ray spectrometer.
Candidate profile:
Physics, Physics Engineering and Biomedical Engineering
Does this proposal involve more than one University?:
Synergies between the two Universities participating in the proposal:
DAEPHYS strongly encourages the presentation of thesis projects in co-supervision by researchers from two of the universities participating in the Program. In this field, explain the benefits resulting from the proposed co-supervision and the involvement of elements from the two universities, e.g. building critical mass teams, profiting from existing infrastructures or advanced equipments, profiting from expert technical know-how, etc. If the proposal involves only one University, write n/a.
(recommended length: 500-1000 char)
Does this proposal involve a company?:
Proposals involving a company:
DAEPHYS strongly encourages the presentation of thesis projects involving a company, preferably a high-tech company. These proposals have to: 1) be centered on a technological problem in which the partner company has been (or plan / would like to be) involved; 2) have a co-supervisor on the enterprise; 3) include part of the project to be carried out in the company.
(recommended length: 500-1000 char)



Name:José Paulo Santos
link to CV or indication of ORCID ID:



Name:Paul Indelicato
Institution:Laboratoire Kastler Brossel (ENS, Collège de France, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, CNRS)
link to CV or indication of ORCID ID:


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