The purpose of this electronic educational course is to help students, who study experimental nuclear physics, to prepare to their first research activities in the modern scientific laboratories. The subject of the course is the study of radioactive decay processes and spontaneous fission in particular.
Research work in the field of experimental nuclear physics is connected with the solution of various investigating and inventive tasks which require knowledge of nuclear physics and experimental equipment. This course on an example of the real experimental setup introduces students to the techniques of nuclear physics and confronts them with tasks that require the ability to apply this knowledge in practice, simulating the operation of the experiment.
The subject of the theory of spontaneous fission was chosen not by chance. This process is most important among all the processes of nuclear decay, because exactly it limits the nuclear mass, defines the bounds of the periodic system of chemical elements and consequently the appearance of the Universe. At the same time, experiments, which introduce students to this process, do not require expensive acceleration time and are quite compact.
The LIS (Light ions Investigation System) setup developed at the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions in Dubna was chosen as an example of a real experiment. The LIS setup is the double arm time-of-flight energy spectrometer of fission fragments. Using this setup students are introduced to the procedure of particle registration and measuring of their characteristics, semiconductor detectors and time stamp detectors, data acquisition systems and data processing algorithms.