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2005/06 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PHYS2080 Subatomic Physics

10 creditsClass Size: 100

Module manager: Dr J Knapp

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2005/06


Quantum Physics and Relativity (PHYS1100), Electromagnetism (PHYS1090) and Quantum Mechanics (PHYS2042) or equivalent

This module is not approved as an Elective


At the end of this module, students should be able to explain the basic concepts of subatomic physics and apply them to solve related problems. Specifically students should be able to:
- explain the properties of atomic nuclei (size, charge, and mass) and the energy release in nuclear reactions;
- describe nuclear decays (alpha, beta, and gamma) and the principle of nuclear dating;
- name nuclear models and their basic features;
- explain neutrino production mechanisms and neutrino experiments;
- describe solar energy production and solar neutrinos;
- discuss element synthesis in the universe;
- compute via relativistic kinematics particle production and decays;
- explain the interactions of charged particles and photons with matter;
- describe particle detectors and their application in nuclear and particle physics experiments;
- discuss quarks and leptons as fundamental constituents of matter.


Revision of: Properties of nuclei (charge, size, shape, masses & binding energy),
Radioactive decays (decay law, Alpha decay, Beta decay, Gamma decays)
Decays: details of Alpha, Beta and Gamma decay, spontaneous and induced fission, fission reactors decay series, dating with radioactive isotopes, Beta spectrum, Mössbauer effect
Nuclear models: Droplet model, Fermi gas model, and Shell model
Neutrino physics: properties of neutrinos, neutrino experiments
The Sun: Fusion, solar neutrinos
Element synthesis: in Big Bang, stars and star explosions
Fundamental particles and their interactions: Quarks, Leptons, force carrier particles
Particle Interaction with matter: ionisation, bremsstrahlung, Cherenkov, photo, and Compton effect, pair production, relativistic kinematics
Particle detectors & Accelerators: Scintillation and semiconductor detectors, proportional and drift chambers, calorimeters, Cyclotrons, synchrotrons, linear accelerators

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Lectures: 22 x 1 hour;

Tutorials: 3 x 1 hour.

Private study

Homework and reading: 75 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

3 assessed homeworks.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

1 x 2 hour written examination at the end of the semester: 85%;
3 x marked exercises: 15%.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 16/03/2007


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