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ODU/Jlab REU Program

List of Research Projects

We list potential research projects for the summer on our web site. It sometimes happens that the exact project may not be available to a student who is interested in it. However, since the mentors contact the students prior to their arrival, a mutually agreed upon project in the area of the student’s interest is worked out. In our research environment, an imaginative and enterprising student, once on site, might see, suggest, and gain quick approval for her or his own research project. This has happened in the case of a 2008 REU student, who in consultation with his mentor formulated and executed a project. It also happens that not all projects listed are carried out during the summer and sometimes are re-listed on the web site. It should be noted that we tend to add more projects to the web-site list upon requests from mentors. The following are some of the projects which will be listed on the website for 2014.

  1. Project Title: Beam-beam tune shift limit under nonlinear integrable optics
    Dr. Rui Li (
  2. Project Description: An integrable optics test facility is planned to be built at Fermilab to test the stabilizing effect of such optics on transverse beam dynamics. This approach can potentially bring revolution to the beam stability in accelerators and enhancement of luminosity in colliders. The idea is to use nonlinear integrable optics so that there is no resonances at large amplitude. Since beam-beam tune shift limit is mainly caused by Arnold diffusion when resonance islands overlap, it is interesting to explore if the application of nonlinear integrable optics can help reduce the Arnold diffusion rate and thus increase both luminosity and luminosity lifetime by increase the beam-beam tune shift limit. In this case beam-beam will still introduce linear and nonlinear forces on the beams, but it would be interesting to see the interplay of the beam-beam force with the nonlinear integrable lattice.
    REU Student Participation: The student will run the BeamBeam3D program for beam-beam interaction, and then transport the beam via nonlinear integrable lattice in the ring in simulation. By changing the beam current, we can first establish beam-beam tune shift limit, and then investigate the effect of the nonlinear integrable lattice on this limit. This will be an exploratory study which will be useful for the MEIC design, and the result of the study will be helpful in suggesting further theoretical explanations.

  3. Project Title: Beat Frequency Modulator (BFM) and Application to Mott Polarimeter
  4. Dr. Joe Grames (
    Project Description: The CEBAF lasers pulse at 499MHz creating a “train” of electron bunches that pass through a synchronized 499MHz window. The Beat Frequency Modulator (BFM) is a new radio-frequency electronics being built that allows the user to pulse the laser at somewhat different frequencies. The subsequent “train” of electron bunches then “beats” against the fixed frequency window allowing only some of the electron bunches to pass. A Mott polarimeter measures the “spins” of the electron bunch and is sensitive to when they arrive at the device. The project involves commissioning the BFM and then modifying the Mott polarimeter data acquisition system to be properly synchronized.
    REU Student Participation: Students involved with this project learn the physics of Mott electron scattering and perform systematic studies of the polarimeter. This will include setting up the electron beam to the Mott polarimeter, calibration and operation of the detector system, hands-on experience with a high-performance data acquisition system and analysis tools, and many experimental tests. Students will work alongside scientists, technical staff and graduate students, report on progress, and experience what it is like to work in our research group. Experience with electronics and computers is helpful.

  5. Linear Accelerator Energy Management
  6. Dr. Balsa Terzic (, Dr. Alicia Hofler (
    Project Description:Jefferson Lab has two main linear accelerators (linacs) to accelerate electrons to the energies needed for nuclear physics experiments conducted in Jefferson Lab’s experiment halls. These linacs rely on more than 300 individual superconducting radio frequency (SRF) cavities cooled with liquid helium from an on-site 2 K refrigerator. The electrical power to run the refrigerator is a significant portion of Jefferson Lab’s operating budget, and its power consumption is directly related to the heat load from the SRF cavities. To date, the management and distribution of the electric field gradients in the cavities has been driven by cavity fault rate performance to maximize beam delivery time to the nuclear physics experiments. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that the cavities with the best fault rates place the smallest heat load on the refrigerator. This research project seeks to integrate these two conflicting operating modes into one optimization problem to solve using genetic algorithms.
    REU Student participation: Students involved in this linac energy management optimization project will learn about accelerator and large scale refrigerator operations, SRF cavity fault characterization models, genetic algorithms, optimization theory, parallel computing techniques, and real time distributed control system programming.

  7. Space Charge and Bunch Compression in Alpha Magnets
  8. Dr. Todd Satogata (
    Project Description: Jefferson Lab and Old Dominion University are collaborating on the design of a compact Compton light source (CLS) that could provide very high brightness X-ray photons with a much smaller accelerator than the Jefferson Lab Free Electron Laser (FEL) or Stanford Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS). In the first part of this accelerator, a long-duration high-intensity electron beam is produced from an optimized photocathode gun. This bunch needs to be shortened, or "compressed". A special type of magnet, called an alpha magnet, could be used to manipulate the beam in this way, but the tradeoffs of the self-field (space charge) of the beam and the dynamics in the alpha magnet are currently unknown. Theoretical and computational modeling of this transport may lead to new compact light source designs of unparalleled performance.
    REU Student participation: For this project, the student will assist in the theoretical and computational modeling of high-intensity low-energy electron beam through an alpha magnet. He/she will be introduced to accelerator design computer programs and more general ideas in accelerator physics, beam transport, and the electrodynamic descriptions of space-charge dominated beams. The student will help develop a theoretical model of this motion, computer algorithms to model these dynamics, and compare the model and theoretical predictions. Student experience in the area of numerical calculation is strongly desired, but not required.

  9. Project Title: Classification of surface imperfections with Haar cascade.
  10. Dr. G. Eremeev, SRF Institute (
    Project Description: Several hundreds of niobium Superconducting Radio Frequency (SRF) cavities cooled to about 2 K are used to accelerate electron beam in the CEBAF accelerator at Jefferson Lab. The efficiency of an SRF cavity is determined by the quality of its surface: imperfections on the surface hinder surface currents and limit the efficiency. The goal of this project is to automate classification of surface imperfections with Haar cascade technique. We will build a Haar cascade classifier for surface imperfections and use it classify surface imperfections.
    REU Student Participation: The student will train a Haar cascade classifier for surface features and will use it to classify surface imperfections. Some knowledge of C(C#, C++) is needed.

  11. Project title: Fast quarks in the neutron
  12. Dr. Wally Melnitchouk (
    Project Description: While much is known about how quarks and gluons make up a proton, the analogous structure of the neutron is not as well understood. This is especially true for quarks that carry a large fraction "x" of the neutron's momentum.  A global analysis of quark momentum distributions is being carried out at Jefferson Lab, in collaboration with theorists and experimentalists nationwide, aimed at accurately describing the structure of the neutron and proton in the large-x region.  This project will involve computation of several new physical effects, which have not been included in previous analyses that are important for reliably extracting quark structure information from electron scattering and other reactions at large x.
    REU Student Participation: Assist with the derivation of theoretical formulas for observables in parity-violating electron scattering and related experiments. Run computer programs to calculate scattering amplitudes and cross sections numerically. It is expected that this project will result in a publication in a refereed journal. Enthusiasm for theoretical physics is essential. Some knowledge of quantum mechanics and/or nuclear and particle physics is advantageous. Familiarity with programming languages (e.g. FORTRAN, C++, Mathematica) is desirable but not essential.

  13. Project title: BigBite Detector
  14. Dr. Douglas Higinbotham (
    Project Description: The electron detector package for the Hall A BigBite spectrometer requires refurbishment and reconstruction in order to be ready for the upcoming nuclear physics experiments using a tritium and polarized 3He targets.   The student on this project will learn in detail how particles are detected and learn to use equipment such as a digital oscilloscope and high speed data-acquisition.    
    REU Student Participation: Requires hands on work on the detector components and electronics. Familiarity with UNIX and C++ is desirable.

  15. Project Title: Detector commissioning for the Hall C 12 GeV Program
  16. Dr. Brad Sawatzky (
    Project Description: Hall C will be combining a full set of new particle detectors into an integrated detector stack for the new Super High-Momentum Spectrometer (SHMS). Wire chambers, scintillator bar assemblies, calorimeters, gas Cherenkov devices will require interested and dedicated students support scientists, tech staff and grad students to get them up and working.
    REU Student Participation: Interested students will participate in the full range of what's needed to help bring a cutting edge experimental apparatus on line. This includes detector assembly, establishing basic function using an oscilloscope, setting up simple cosmic ray triggers, readout (DAQ), and data analysis. Prior programming experience in in C++ is an asset.

  17. Analysis for Hall C Polarimeters
  18. Dr. David Gaskell (
    Project Description: Two devices are used in experimental Hall C to measure the polarization of the electron beam; a Møller polarimeter, which uses electron-electron scattering, and a Compton polarimeter, which uses electron-photon scattering. Both devices require analysis software to decode the relevant detector signals, convert them to useful quantities (rates, energies and asymmetries) and extract the electron beam polarization. While this analysis software exists for both systems, it needs to be updated to be consistent with modern standards and be more easily maintained.
    REU Student Participation: The student will become familiar with the basic operation of the Hall C Møller and Compton polarimeters. The student will translate the existing Møller polarimeter analysis software from FORTRAN to C++. This will entail some work re-writing decoding software as well as higher-level analysis routines. The student will also modify the Hall C Compton analyzer, already written in C++ but integrated into a larger analysis framework, to be a “standalone” analysis package, no longer dependent on unrelated software. For this project, familiarity with programming in C++ is highly desired. Familiarity with Root and FORTRAN would be helpful, but not totally necessary.