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Switching from Optical/Ultrafast Laser Physics to Nuclear Physics

  1. Nov 18, 2014 #1
    I recently received by Ph.D. in physics. Most of my physics experience is experimental work with optics, ultrafast laser science, laser plasma physics (relatively weakly ionized and atmospheric density plasmas), and RF and microwave experiments. However, I would really like to get involved with Nuclear Fission and Nuclear Fusion research. Is there a way for somebody with my background to enter these fields?

    Thanks for the advice.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 18, 2014 #2

    e.bar.goum

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    I'd guess it's the same way anyone gets into a field, apply for postdocs!

    What kind of nuclear research are you interested in? Structure? Reactions? Applied nuclear physics?

    Now, you might have more luck in groups that do plasma physics for nuclear fusion power generation at first (you have experience in plasmas and RF), but you could do another sideways step for the next postdoc, and so on?

    If you're interested at all in synchrotron accelerators, I know that there is a fair amount of work in using optical systems for beam diagnostics. That's more accelerator physics than nuclear physics, though.
     
  4. Nov 22, 2014 #3
    Thanks for the advice.

    Anything directed toward the development of nuclear energy is what really interest me, although I wouldn't mind getting involved in particle accelerators and learning about those machines.
     
  5. Nov 23, 2014 #4

    e.bar.goum

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    Well, it sounds like plasma research is the place to be for you. Lots of optical methods used there!

    The nuclear physics of fusion power is pretty well settled. It's the confinement of the plasma that is the key challenge for the development of fusion power.

    (That's not to say that the physics of nuclear fusion in general is solved, but that's little to do with fusion power)
     
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