Edith Tea & Jonathan Hu:
Projectile fragmentation is a method that can be used to study rare neutron-rich isotopes. The collision of a high energy beam nucleus on a target results in the production of multiple charged fragments known as projectile like fragments (PLF). The short lived excited PLF promptly de-excite into radioactive isotopes of various elements, by releasing a gamma ray and a neutron.While a lot is known about these radioactive isotopes–such as cross sections and momentum distribution–the reaction pathway of the fragmentation process is still foreign.
The goal of our summer research was to understand the mechanism that occur within the target by studying the multiplicity & kinetic energy distribution of neutrons emitted before the final fragment.
The experiment of the MoNa Collaboration uses the Modular Neutron Array (MoNa) at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory in Michigan State University, and consists of a 86 Mev beam of 32Mg blasting through a target of 9Be to produce isotopes of Na, Ne and F. The Modular Neutron Array allows us detect the neutron in coincidence with isotopes of the stated elements, by measuring position timing, and charge. We can apply the multiplicities and kinetic energy of the neutrons for each isotopes to a fixed value such as their A/Z ratio, to generate a model which through simulation, theoretically describes the mechanism in the reaction target.
What we have been doing everyday, is analyzing previously gathered data by Grad Student Michelle Mosby at the NSCIL, and trying to answer the question stated above. We use a program called ROOT++, which allows us to create 3D, 2D and 1D graphs of the data found in our detectors. Last summer, while doing the same research, we traveled to the NSCL and assist a grad student on their experiment with MoNa. This summer, we traveled again to the NSCL to talk to other members of the collaborations & other scientists & bdiscuss some of the challenges with analysis. We are already on our path to solve some of those issues!
(Pictures to come)