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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: Physics Short Name: PH3-NSR
Level: HE3 Module Co-ordinator: WALKER PM Prof (Physics)
Number of credits: 10 Number of ECTS credits: 5
Module Availability

Module Availability:


Semester 2


Assessment Pattern

Unit(s) of Assessment


Weighting Towards Module Mark( %)






Qualifying Condition(s) 


University general regulations refer.


Module Overview

The module explores different aspects of the structure of atomic nuclei, starting from basic principles and leading to current research themes. There is an emphasis on the physical limits to nuclear binding. Illustrative nuclear reactions and applications of nuclear physics are considered.



PHY2017 – Modern Physics module.


Module Aims

The aim of the module is to provide a basic understanding of the complex structures of atomic nuclei and the limits to their stability. Starting from the building blocks of neutrons and protons, and the forces between them, there is a natural progression to the quantum mechanical shell model, with the key role of the Pauli exclusion principle. In contrast, collective excitations are also observed, and an appreciation is sought for the interplay between the individual-particle and collective degrees of freedom. The study of nuclear structure depends to a large extent on understanding nuclear reactions, so these are discussed, as are some applications of nuclear physics to wider issues.


Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be able to describe the main features of nuclear forces, nuclear shells, collective modes and nuclear stability. They will recognise the kinds of nuclear reactions according to incident energy, impact parameters, and outcomes. The students will see the connections of knowledge of nuclear structure and reaction details with the possibility of applications, and be able to describe the principal nuclear physics ingredients of these applications.


Module Content

Nuclear Structure: Nucleon-nucleon force, the deuteron, nuclear size and mirror nuclei. The shell model, harmonic oscillator, Pauli principle, evidence for shells, spin-orbit force, single-particle structure, electromagnetic moments, collective structure, vibrations and rotations, moments of inertia and pairing. Limits of stability, superheavy nuclei, proton and neutron drip lines, high spin and temperature.



Nuclear Reactions: Types of nuclear reaction. Coulomb barrier, cross sections, laboratory and centre-of-mass descriptions. Elastic and inelastic scattering, transfer, fusion, deep inelastic reactions, fragmentation, fission.



Applications of Nuclear Physics: Nuclear fusion as a power source, dating with radioisotopes, accelerator mass spectrometry.


Methods of Teaching/Learning

24 hours of lectures/tutorials


Selected Texts/Journals

i.                K S Krane , Introductory Nuclear Physics, Wiley 1988.


ii.              J S Lilley, Nuclear Physics: Principles and Applications, Wiley 2001.


Last Updated

August 2010.