Skip to Main Content

Title ImagePublic Abstract


DE-SC0024609: Expanding NCCU Participation in Experimental, Low-Energy, Nuclear Physics Research at TUNL

Award Status: Active
  • Institution: North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC
  • DUNS: 783691801
  • Most Recent Award Date: 11/03/2023
  • Number of Support Periods: 1
  • PM: Bryson, Tasia
  • Current Budget Period: 09/01/2023 - 08/31/2024
  • Current Project Period: 09/01/2023 - 08/31/2028
  • PI: Markoff, Diane
  • Supplement Budget Period: N/A

Public Abstract

Expanding NCCU Participation in Experimental, Low-Energy, Nuclear Physics Research at TUNL

PI: D. Markoff (North Carolina Central University)


Overview: This proposal supports increased capacity at North Carolina Central University (NCCU), a designated Historically Black University (HBCU), to engage in low-energy nuclear structure and nuclear astrophysics research using the accelerator facilities at the Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory (TUNL). The proposed support addresses all three of the goals outlined in the funding opportunity:  increasing entry points with undergraduate internships, supporting retention through post-baccalaureate fellowships, and expanding research at an HBCU with the creation of a faculty position dedicated to experimental nuclear physics research.

NCCU faculty have a long history of engaging in low-energy experimental nuclear physics research at the nearby TUNL facility located on the Duke University campus about 20 minutes away by car. This proposal expands that collaboration to extend the research projects and areas of experimental nuclear physics that NCCU students are involved in. The new research projects include experimental studies in nuclear astrophysics and nuclear structure using the accelerators located at TUNL.


Program: The proposal creates a new faculty position at NCCU to participate in accelerator based nuclear physics research at TUNL. In addition, a new postbaccalaureate program will be created for students not ready to enter a graduate degree program. This postbac program includes the opportunity for the person to gain research experience as well as increase their foundation in physics. through coursework at NCCU.  Through a previous DOE award, NCCU and TUNL have partnered to create a successful undergraduate traineeship program for underrepresented minority undergraduate students. This proposal will extend that program for the duration of the grant. Three undergraduates from minority schools, or underrepresented minority students from 4-year colleges will be involved in mentored TUNL research during the summer months. In addition, this proposal supports a nearby Durham Technical Community College instructor and students to take part in summer TUNL research. This will greatly expand the reach of nuclear physics research to a community usually not represented or does not traditionally participate.


The new faculty, post-baccalaureate, and undergraduate students supported on this proposal will choose their research group and projects that they will participate in.  Topics include Compton scattering on light nuclei using polarized photon beams from the High Intensity gamma-ray Source (HIgS) at the Duke Free Electron Laser (DFEL) facility with NCCU, Duke and UNC researchers, nuclear structure studies at the DFELL HIgS facility with UNC professors, nuclear astrophysics reaction rates at the Tandem Lab with an NC State professor, nuclear astrophysics at the DFELL HIgS facility with a UNC professor, low-energy QCD studies at the DFELL HIgS facility with a Duke University professor, and Nuclear astrophysics experiments at the Laboratory for Experimental Nuclear Astrophysics (LENA) facility with a UNC professor.  This program provides opportunities for researchers at all levels to interact with faculty from multiple institutions and receive mentoring from a diverse faculty pool. The researchers will be encouraged to focus on one experiment while contributing to other experimental efforts to broaden their experience and skills.


Results: Through the programs outlined in this proposal, the nuclear physics community at TUNL will increase in diversity. The mentoring and opportunities provided will increase the chance that these young researchers will continue in the nuclear field. This proposal will extend the nuclear physics program and topics of study at NCCU, and greatly increase the active participation of NCCU personnel at TUNL.

Scroll to top