Thesis topics in Physics (for October 2023)

Application deadline: 28th July.

  1. Towards hardware acceleration of Monte Carlo particle transport
    • Supervisor: Dr hab. Przemysław Adrich, prof. NCBJ
    • Description: Monte Carlo particle transport simulation is a primary and indispensable tool of fundamental as well as applied science and nuclear engineering. Nowadays, particularly in high-energy physics, the demand for MC simulations is growing faster than the performance improvements of traditional computer processors, creating an ever-widening gap. A remedy is actively sought, and different approaches are being considered.
      Since its inception, progress in Monte Carlo particle transport has always been closely tied to advancements in computing hardware. Currently, Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) are emerging as an intriguing alternative to traditional CPUs. FPGAs are made of programmable logic and arithmetic blocks and memory elements that can be connected together using programmable interconnect. Essentially, an FPGA is a reconfigurable hardware capable of implementing an arbitrary algorithm. It has been demonstrated that for certain problem domains, e.g., in machine learning, finances, database processing, genomics, cryptography, FPGAs outperform CPUs by a significant margin. Monte Carlo particle transport appears to be well-suited for hardware acceleration using an FPGA. Up to now, limited research has been conducted in this area, aside from very preliminary studies with extremely simplified physics and geometry models.
      Here, we propose to undertake studies on the hardware acceleration of Monte Carlo particle transport. A primary objective is to assess the viability of FPGA acceleration for simulations involving realistically complex geometries and physics. To this end, coupled photon-electron transport, which has applications ranging from electromagnetic calorimeters to radiotherapy planning, appears both feasible and important.
      We are looking for candidates with basic knowledge of particle interaction with matter, fundamentals of Monte Carlo simulation and programming skills (C, C++).
    • Funding: NCBJ Fellowship
  2. Strong gravitational lensing in the era of big surveys
    • Supervisor: Prof. Dr hab. Agnieszka Pollo
    • Co-Supervisor: Prof. Dr hab. Marek Biesiada
    • Description: Following the first observational confirmation of General Relativity in a famous expedition led by Eddington, strong gravitational lensing has emerged as a fruitful theoretical and observational discipline. By now, strong lensing has become a mature research field and has brought important results both in extragalactic astronomy (study of galactic structure), dark matter content, extrasolar planets searches (microlensing), and cosmology (alternative determination of the Hubble constant). However, the potential hidden in this field is much bigger and not sufficiently explored yet. For example, the cosmological model-independent determination of cosmic curvature, an alternative to the CMB/BAO technique, could be possible by using strong lensing systems.
      The breakthrough of this decade will unquestionably be the operation of the Vera Rubin Observatory and its legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST). LSST is expected to be an unprecedented discovery machine with a considerable impact on many branches of astrophysics and cosmology.
      In particular, within the time of its operation, it is expected to produce a high-purity sample of 10 000 strong lensing systems, including 1000 quasar lenses. Hence, the LSST will become a game changer in astrophysics and in precision cosmology, in particular.
      The successful applicant will be engaged in studies of strong gravitational lensing systems in the context of the LSST. The particular emphasis would be on the lens redshift and image separation test and its performance regarding the testing of the cosmological model or the lens velocity dispersion function. The applicant is expected to work first on the LSST simulated data and then on the real LSST data, which should become available in the timescale of the Ph.D. project. Hence a basic knowledge of gravitational lensing theory and Python programming skills are necessary prerequisites. Further development and applications of the original auto-encoder ML technique of identifying strong lensing systems in the massive data stream, being developed in the Department, could be a part of the duties.
    • Funding: NCBJ Fellowship
  3. Study of defects and Rare Earth dopants into Ga2o3
    • Supervisor: Prof. dr hab. Elżbieta Guziewicz
    • Auxiliary Supervisor: Dr Renata Ratajczak
    • Description: Gallium Oxide (Ga2O3) is one of the currently most popular materials, that have attracted great attention from the scientific community. According to our project plan the properties of this material are going to be modified by doping with Rare Earth (RE) using ion implantation. Such Ga2O3:RE systems are extremely important for future applications in optoelectronics .
      In your work, you will deal with the structural, electrical and optical research of a range of physical phenomena that are related to the ion implantation process, as well as with designing the parameters to obtain efficient monochromatic light source emitters based on this material. Being involved in the growth processes of Ga2O3 using Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) method will also be an important element of your studies.
      For the structural characterization of RE implanted Ga2O3, both bulk single crystals and ALD layers, mainly the RBS/c analytical technique will be used, as well as comparative methods like Raman and XRD analysis. You are going to be involved in the PL and Hall effect measurements too.
      The majority of these investigations will be realized outside NCBJ, mainly at the Institute of Physics PAS, Warsaw, Poland. If you join us, you will also have a great opportunity to perform experimental investigations in many foreign research centers as well as present results at international conferences. We are looking for candidates with basic knowledge of structural or optical studies of monocrystals. Experience in layer growing with the ALD technique will be well-received.
    • Funding: NCN Fellowship
  4. Study of dilepton production in relativistic nucleus-nucleus interactions at CERN SPS.
    • Supervisor: Prof. Dr. hab. Joanna Stepaniak
    • Auxilliary Superviser: Dr. Damian Pszczel
    • Description: One of the most interesting features of strongly interacting particles is the formation, in relativistic heavy ion collisions, of a new phase of matter: the quark-gluon plasma. Pairs of leptons (e+e– and/or μ+μ–) do not participate in hadronic final state interactions therefore they can escape the hot and dense medium unperturbed, carrying valuable information about the early stages of QGP formation. The NA61/SHINE setup, which is a fixed target experiment that uses beams from the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) located at CERN, allow the study of dilepton production in collisions of heavy ions. The successful applicant is expected to simulate the NA61/SHINE detector response to relevant physical processes in order to optimize the analysis of collected data. We plan to perform a two dimensional scan in energy and atomic number of the colliding beams. Those studies will benefit from supervisors’ experience in similar analyses conducted in NA61/SHINE experiment.
    • Funding: NCBJ Fellowship
  5. Vector boson physics with the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider
    • Supervisor: Prof. Dr. hab. Michał Szleper
    • Description: Vector Boson Scattering (VBS) processes are crucial for our understanding of the mechanism of electroweak symmetry breaking. They probe some of the key quantities of the Standard Model of particle physics: Higgs couplings, triple gauge couplings and quartic gauge couplings, thus they are indirect checks for new physics. We look for a strong motivated candidate who would like to work with the CMS experiment at CERN and participate in the analysis of data collected by CMS during Run 3 of the LHC. The main focus of the analysis will be search for physics beyond the Standard Model via measurement of the quartic gauge couplings in the same-sign WW scattering process and the WZ scattering process, and using the theoretical framework of Effective Field Theories with higher dimension operators. Required is a M.Sc. degree in particle physics obtained within the last two years. Candidates are expected to have excellent programming skills (c++, python, ROOT) and being able to establish a friendly collaboration with the international scientific community at CERN. Good understanding of particle physics theory will be a bonus. The successful candidate will also participate in activities related to the maintenance and operation of the Overlap Muon Track Finder (OMTF) system of the CMS detector, as part of their service work within the Warsaw CMS group.
    • Funding: NCN Fellowship