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Dr. Sally Hicks

Dr. Sally Hicks

Chair and Professor of Physics
University of Dallas
Office: SB-38 
Phone: (972) 721-5215
Fax: (972) 721-5052
Email: hicks@udallas.edu

 Teaching Schedule Fall 2014

Theoretical Mechanics: MWF 8:40-9:50
Quantum Physics: MWF 10:00-10:50
Quantum Physics Laboratory: T 2:00-5:00
General Physics II Laboratory: T 11:00-2:00

Office Hours: M 2:00-4:00; W 1:30-4:30; Other times by appointment.

Research Interests

My research is currently funded by the Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP) and the advanced nuclear fuels program of the Department of Energy. The advanced nuclear fuels program of the DOE sponsors research and development of innovative next-generation light water nuclear reactors and future fast reactors. For design and safety considerations of these systems, input in the form of probabilities of neutron-induced reactions that impact the fuel performance during irradiations, as well as coolants and structural materials, is required. The goal of this project is to measure with high precision and accuracy the nuclear data of greatest importance to the Advanced Fuels Program of the DOE for scattered neutrons on coolants and structural materials. These requirements can be met by only a few facilities worldwide, and the UK Accelerator Laboratory, with its advanced neutron production and detection capabilities, is uniquely suited for these measurements. The high-quality data produced at UK will be utilized by data evaluators, theorists, and engineers in producing safer, cleaner, more-efficient energy sources.

A consortium of three universities (UD, the University of Kentucky and the United States Naval Academy) and a national laboratory (Idaho National Laboratory) has been formed to provide the necessary breadth for this effort and includes scientists with extensive experience in neutron elastic and elastic scattering measurements and with direct access to the facilities for completing the proposed neutron measurements, i.e., the UK Accelerator Laboratory. This three-year project, which will integrate closely with other interested national/international groups of scientists and engineers, will provide partial support for faculty and staff and will afford training in neutron physics for six to ten university undergraduate students, a graduate student, and a postdoctoral scholar, thus helping address the nation’s need to improve the nuclear science and engineering infrastructure so the industry will be prepared for future expansion. Funding will be available during the next three years for at least one UD undergraduate student to participate in measurements and data analyses.  

 

 I also conduct research in the area of nuclear structure, specifically the structure of the Z=52 isotopes.   Low-lying excited levels of the even-even Tellurium nuclei are being investigated using g-ray spectroscopy following inelastic neutron scattering.  This reaction mechanism allows us to determine the lifetimes of levels in the few femtosecond to few picosecond region and to deduce electromagnetic transition rates.  From these investigations we are able to learn about the collective properties of the nucleus.  In particular, we can study multi-phonon excitations, intruder excitations, and states of mixed neutron-proton symmetry.  

Several undergraduate students have completed an undergraduate senior research thesis from their participation in this project.  Examples of student projects are listed below.

This research is done in collaboration with nuclear scientists from the United States Naval Academy, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Cologne and is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.    

 

 

Education

B.S., Physics and Mathematics, Eastern Kentucky University (1981)
M.S., Physics, University of Kentucky (1984)
Ph.D., Nuclear Physics, University of Kentucky (1988)

Selected Recent Publications

UD undergraduates are indicated in blue.

Student Research Projects from Nuclear Structure and Neutron Scattering Investigations

Other Student Theses Supervised

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