Testing the Standard Model in beta decay at WISArD-ISOLDE

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven


August 20, 2021


Testing the Standard Model in beta decay at WISArD-ISOLDE

(ref. BAP-2021-611)

Last modification : Thursday, July 15, 2021

The research program at the "Instituut voor Kern- en Stralingsfysica" is concentrated on experimental nuclear physics focusing on the study of the strong, electromagnetic and weak interactions at play in atomic nuclei. The research in the weak interaction group aims at investigating the symmetries and detailed structure of this interaction at low energies using the beta decay of exotic nuclei and ultracold neutrons. Experiments in nuclear beta decay currently focus on searches for non-Standard Model scalar and tensor weak interactions, the Vud quark-mixing matrix element and the weak magnetism term in beta decay. This involves both correlation experiments and spectrum shape measurements in the beta decay of often very short-lived radioactive isotopes. Experiments are performed at ISOLDE (CERN, CH) and GANIL (Caen, FR) in collaboration with international research partners. As to neutrons the team is involved in the search for a permanent electric dipole moment at the Paul Scherrer Institute (the nEDM Collaboration).


This research project is in the framework of an international collaboration (with the CENBG-University of Bordeaux,the LPC Caen and University of Caen, the Nuclear Physics Institute at Rez-Prague, and the University of Krakow). The aim is to search for physics beyond the Standard Model, more specifically possible scalar and/or tensor type components in the weak interaction, and study matrix elements induced by thestrong interaction (so-called weak magnetism), using the WISArD apparatus a tISOLDE-CERN. Scalar and tensor type weak interactions are searched for by measuring the beta-neutrino correlation in the beta-delayed proton decay of32Ar. A 0.2% precision is aimed at with a detection setup that was developed followingan earlier proof-of-principle experiment (Phys. Rev. C 101,055501 (2020)). Weak magnetism is studied by constraining beta-particles (from e.g. a 32P source) in a strong magnetic field thereby minimizing scattering effects and reaching a 4pi solid-angle.

You will join the ongoing research program in the weak interaction group, where you will be responsible for the day-to-day organization of the ongoing research projects at WISArD, the coordination and preparation of beam times and off-line measurements, the maintenance of the apparatus, aswell as the guidance of PhD students, and possible master and summer students joining the WISArD project.


We are searching for a researcher with PhD in physics, a good knowledge of low-energy weak interactions, experience with ISOLDE-type physics research, and good organizational qualities. Research experience at the ISOLDE-facility itself is an advantage.


The contract will be for one year and can possibly be extended to a second year. The starting date aimed at is September1st, 2021. After a one-month stay at the home-institute in Leuven, the position will be full-time located at the ISOLDE-facility at CERN, Geneva.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Nathal Severijns, tel.: +32 16 32 72 65, mail: nathal.severijns@kuleuven.be.

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

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