QCD at nonzero temperature and density
One of our major lines of research has been and is Analytical Laser Spectroscopy (ALS), with a strong international flavour through various links to other European universities and research centres. The ALSU is led by Helmut Telle.
More and more laser techniques find applications in material analysis and testing, with – besides the use in fundamental research – major applications in industry and heath care. Different types of studies are carried out in our laboratory, nowadays concentrating on the techniques of laser-induced breakdown (LIBS) and plasma generation/analysis; tuneable diode laser (absorption) spectroscopy – TDLAS; resonance ionisation (mass) spectrometry; and Raman spectroscopy and microscopy. We have several national and international partners in these activities, including AWE Aldermaston and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Some of the “traditional” activities associated with these laser (analytical) spectroscopic techniques, and the related expertise, are now largely subsumed, in one form or another, into the research fields of Fundamental Atomic and Molecular Physics. For instance we are active members of the large multi-national collaboration called KATRIN – the KArlsruhe TRItium Neutrino mass experiment which aims to make an absolute mass determination, or set a stringent upper limit on the neutrino mass, by making a precise measurement of the beta-decay spectrum of tritium near its endpoint (around 18.6 keV). Swansea has developed a laser Raman system to continuously monitor the purity of the tritium gas as it is cycled around the apparatus.
Note that, although the majority of lasers used in our research are commercial devices, we are still developing bespoke, specialised laser systems for particular applications. More details on the activities of the ALSU can be found here .