Studies of Exotic Nuclei with the MoNA LISA Neutron Detectors

  • Finck, Joseph E. (PI)

Grant Details


A faculty member and his undergraduates at Central Michigan University were collaborators in the construction, assembly, and testing of the one million dollar Modular Neutron Array (MoNA) which was completed in 2004. Subsequently, the collaboration received a $1.3 Million NSF grant to construct the Large multi-Institutional Scintillator Array (LISA). The MoNA LISA neutron detector tandem is used with the Sweeper magnet at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL). The main purpose of MoNA LISA is to extract masses of neutron-unbound nuclei and excitation energies of unbound states. The physics to be addressed is that of light, very neutron-rich nuclei located in the direct vicinity of the drip line or even beyond. This is the domain of very weakly bound nucleonic matter where fascinating new phenomena have already been observed, such as halos or drastic changes in shell structure. The MoNA LISA and Sweeper detection system is ideally suited to explore the intrinsic structure of near drip line nuclei by studying the properties of their ground and low excited states. It will also provide information about low-lying resonances located just above the particle emission threshold in nuclei at the drip line and beyond. Finally, the detectors are designed in such a way that they can readily measure neutrons in coincidence so that correlations between emitted neutrons can be investigatedin detail as well.

The MoNA collaboration is in a unique situation that is quite different from any other collaboration or research group proposing experiments at the NSCL. Specifically it first allowed professors from predominantly undergraduate institutions and their undergraduate students to participate in the construction of a top-level research instrument. The group has answered the challenge to transform from construction to production. We have built a unique analysis scheme that allows the undergraduate programs to be involved in the running, reduction, and analysis of MoNA experiments. As a result, 112 undergraduates have had the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge nuclear physics experiments. Additionally, Central Michigan University has aggressively worked to expose high school students and their teachers to experimental nuclear physics, and has even brought MoNA to Michigan state legislators and their staffs.

Effective start/end date06/1/1209/30/18


  • National Science Foundation: $69,876.00


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