Nuclear Physics
25 Oct 2022



We work on behalf of STFC to support the UK's nuclear physics research programme.




The detector bed and support, target-changing mechanism, 

and the primary silicon position sensitive detector, designed  for 

the Isolde Solenoidal Spectrometer ​at CERN.

We provide expertise and coordination for the UK community in:

  • Electronic engineering
  • Software engineering
  • Project and mechanical engineering
  • Target preparation
  • Detector design and production for nuclear physics projects

The nuclear physicists in our group also have their own research programmes. Their current activities focus on the spectroscopy of nuclei at the limits of stability and angular momentum, this includes:

  • Shell structure and deformation at ultra-high spins in nuclei​
  • Spectroscopy at the limits of nuclear existence
  • Single particle structure and correlations in isospin asymmetric nuclei​

​Electronic engineering

​We have many years of experience in the design of experimental nuclear physics systems for a wide range of detector types and sizes. Our expertise is founded on whole-system design from detectors through front-end electronics and mechanics to data acquisition and control. Our close links with experienced physicists and software and mechanical engineers are key to our system design capabilities.

Our specific electronics capabilities include the development of complex high-speed data acquisition systems based on field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) (including the use of embedded Linux within FPGAs), trigger systems and triggerless hardware using time stamping, fast digitisers for pulse shape analysis, printed circuit board (PCB) design and routing, system commissioning, and a strong understanding of the physics of the detectors which we instrument.

We are also experienced in project management and cost estimation for funding applications.

Software engineering

Our data acquisition software is known as MIDAS, the Multi-Instance Data Acquisition System. It is a modular, object-based software system consisting of both the Graphical User Interface and the hardware control servers.

MIDAS started as the data acquisition and electronics control software for the Eurogam Spectrometer. Following this it has been continuously developed, taking advantage of new technologies and techniques as they have become available. It was originally based on a client-server model using Sun RPC. Although this is still used, we make increasing use of SOAP-based web services provided by servers running Linux in embedded processors.

Project engineering

We provide project engineering services to the UK nuclear physics community by working with members of the Engineering Technology Centre who supply engineering design and manufacturing support. We also work closely with designers from the Universities of Liverpool and Manchester.

Target preparation​

We maintain a target preparation laboratory for the production of thin film targets and foils. The nuclear physics community needs a large variety of targets made from elements throughout the periodic table. Target preparation is often crucial to the success of an experiment and it is of the utmost importance that a target conforms to the experimental requirements. 

The target preparation laboratory has an extensive range of equipment to carry out many target preparation techniques, including evaporation, sputtering, and rolling.

Detector design and production for Nuclear Physics projects

We have been involved in many collaborative projects in both the United Kingdom and Europe. Our partners include universities, research institutes, and industrial organisations, some examples of our projects include:

Contac​t us

​For enquiries regarding nuclear physics, please contact Marc Labiche.​