Positron moderation and material analysis

Project Supervisors:

Closing date for applications:  applications accepted all year round

Project description:

Naturally occurring positrons are produced with energies exceeding 100 keV which would require unrealistically high electrical potentials to be used for their control. Therefore, they are passed through materials in order to reduce their energy, or be moderated, to only a few eV. Unfortunately, state-of-the-art moderator efficiencies are only about 1% and so only low intensity beams are possible (resulting in only a few positrons in a beam at any instant). In addition, these moderators are typically cryogenic based and are therefore difficult and expensive to implement.

While studying properties, both at the bulk and surface levels, modifying existing moderators, and investigating the use of new moderator materials, the student will pursue the development of more efficient or user friendly moderators by building upon well-established techniques for material analysis and further develop the capabilities at Swansea University.

The student will develop highly specialised skills related to antimatter production, it’s uses, charged particle storage and manipulation but also highly transferrable skills admired by industry related to lasers and optics, computer programming, CAD & development, electronics, EM fields, vacuum technology, cryogenics, data and signal analysis to name a few. There might also be the possibility of temporary assignment to work on the ALPHA antihydrogen experiment based at CERN to further test or implement advances in the studies developed at Swansea.

This is a non-funded PhD opportunity available at Swansea University College of Science and based in the Department of Physics.


Candidates must have a first, upper second class honours or a Masters degree (with Merit), in a relevant discipline.   Informal enquiries are welcome by emailing Professor M. Charlton (m.charlton@swansea.ac.uk).

How to apply:

Please send the following to science-scholarships@swansea.ac.uk :

  • A comprehensive CV to include:
    • Details of qualifications, including grades
    • Details of any current and relevant employment or work experience
  • A covering letter stating why the project you are applying for particularly matches your skills and experience and how you would choose to develop the project