Overview

Dr O'Donnell is a lecturer in the Nuclear Physics Group having joined in March 2016.

Dr O'Donnell's primary research interests lie in the field of nuclear physics. In particular, he is interested in probing the structure of extremely exotic nuclei via the spectroscopy of gamma rays and charged particles.

Dr O'Donnell is involved with a project at the West of Scotland PET Centre in which a high-purity germanium detector is being used to better understand and quantify the radioactivity being produced as a result of the production of fluorine-18 used in PET scans.

Other areas of Expertise available for knowledge exchange.

Dr O'Donnell has expertise in the Monte-Carlo simulation of radiation interactions with matter. He would be available for collaboration with companies or individuals looking to design radiation detectors or shielding.

Current research activities.

In addition to his investigations of fundamental nuclear physics, Dr O'Donnell is also involved in a number of projects involving the use of novel scintillation-based materials and silicon photomultipliers as inexpensive radiation detectors. In particular, one of these projects is investigating the feasability of a medical device based on this technology for the detection of tumour margins post surgical excision. Another project is invstigating the use of such technology to improve the detection of space-based gamma-ray bursts which can be generated by the the most energetic events in the galaxy.

Area of research expertise - Outline

Dr O'Donnell's research predominantly involves the spectroscopy of gamma-rays and charged particles to probe the limits of existence of atomic nuclei. In addition, he uses these techniques to gain an understanding of how the internal structure of nuclei evolves towards the limits imposed on us by the fundamental interactions found in nature. He is particularly interested in the study of extremely neutron-deficient platinum, gold and mercury isotopes. 

Having played an instrumental role in the design and constrution of the STFC-funded Light Ion Spectrometer Array, based at University of Jyvaskyla Accelerator Laboratory, Dr O'Donnell has significant experience and expertise in the building of hardware for nuclear physics experiments.

Dr O'Donnell is actively involved in both the planning and management of the Scottish Centre for the Application of Plasma-based Accelerators (SCAPA) at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. This role sees Dr O'Donnell providing nuclear physics expertise as part of a large multi-disciplinary team.

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