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Description: kth_cmyk   NUCLEAR PHYSICS SH2302

8 ECTS credits

The course is also given as an introductory graduate course [5A5420, 8 credits]



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Lecturer and course coordinator:

Prof. Bo Cederwall
Department of Physics,
KTH-Royal Institute of Technology
Roslagstullsbacken 21,
S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
(AlbaNova Centre for Physics, Astronomy and Biotechnology)

A brief video presentation of the course can be found here


The course covers selected topics in basic and applied nuclear physics, such as:

  Basic nuclear properties

  Nucleon structure, the quark model (in brief)

  Nuclear forces, effective nucleon-nucleon interaction, two-nucleon systems

  Nuclear decay modes;

    the strong interaction - alpha-decay,

    the weak interaction - beta-decay

    the electromagnetic interaction - gamma-decay

  Nuclear reactions, basic scattering theory

  Deformed nuclei and collective motion - rotations - vibrations 

  “Microscopic” models of nuclear structure; nuclear shell model, mean field models, ab initio models

  Nuclei under extreme conditions of temperature (quark-gluon plasma), deformation and angular momentum

  Fission and fusion - nuclear energy production

  Applications of nuclear physics in industry and medicine

  Outlook: The research frontier

The course is given during the first period of the spring semester.


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Lecture schedule

NB: Lectures start a quarter after the hour, lab exercise sharp on the hour!

Lectures and laboratory exercises will take place at AlbaNova, Roslagstullsbacken 21 except for the internal conversion/beta decay lab which is given at Roslagstullsbacken 33.
Try to form groups of  minimum 2 and maximum 3 students and sign up for the available slots
in Canvas.

Lab # 5 is a computer lab in which the data from the gamma-gamma coincidence measurement (lab # 4) is analysed and the results reported to the lab assistant. It will be scheduled at the measurement session.

The lab manuals provided below must be studied carefully before each lab in order to make efficient use of the time available.
Control questions may be asked by the lab assistant.

Laboratory exercises

Radiation protection information

Alpha decay and spontaneous fission

Internal conversion

Mössbauer effect. Measuring the natural linewidth of an excited nuclear state

Gamma-gamma coincidence measurement  

Construction of a nuclear level scheme based on the laboration Gamma-gamma coincidence measurement.

K. Krane, Introductory Nuclear Physics, J. Wiley & Sons, 1988
N.A. Jelley, Fundamentals of Nuclear Physics, Oxford University Press, 1990
S.S.M. Wong, Introductory Nuclear Physics, 2nd Ed., J. Wiley& Sons, 1998
Bertulani, Nuclear Physics in a Nutshell, Princeton University Press, 2007

Lecture notes
Lab instructions

EXAMINATION will be in the form of a written examination and written reports from the laboratory work.

Grades are determined based on the result of the written examination.

All lab reports must be accepted, but they are not graded.

Grading scheme for the written examination:

E: At least 50% correct answers.

D: At least 60% correct answers.

C: At least 70% correct answers.

B: At least 80% correct answers.

A: At least 90% correct answers.

Fx: 40 – 49% correct answers


Allowed materials during the written examination: Mathematical Handbook (Råde and Westergren/Spiegel/Abramowitz and Stegun or similar), calculator, writing materials.


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Links to nuclear physics labs and resources:

European Science Foundation: NuPECC

US Department of Energy - Nuclear Physics

Nuclear Physics Labs

RHIC, Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider

Brookhaven National Lab databases

Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute databases

Stone table of nuclear electromagnetic moments

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Live Nuclear Web Chart

American Physical Society, Division of Nuclear Physics

European Infrastructure Network: Frontiers in Nuclear Physics

Nuclear Astrophysics:

Nuclear Astrophysics Data - LBNL

Nuclear Astrophysics - LANL

Radiation protection:
Swedish Radiation Safety Authority

Nuclear medicine:
Society for nuclear medicine (USA)

Let's Play PET!

A few "popular" links:
ABC of nuclear physics


Nuclear Science Wall chart

CPEP- Contemporary Physics Education Project

Nature at the femto-scale (booklet on NP research in popular form)

Are you interested in a M.Sc. diploma work project in Nuclear Physics? – Contact the course coordinator for information!

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Course coordinator and lecturer:
Bo Cederwall (office phone +46(0)73 7650580)

Course assistants:

Chong Qi

Özge Aktas

Jana Petrovic


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Nuclear Physics / KTH
Last updated 2020-01-08 / BC