Modern African Nuclear DEtector LAboratory Commissioned in March 2022
MANDELAB is fully operational at UWC & UZ and equipped with the fastest data acquisition systems worldwide (DT5742 from CAEN with a sampling frequency of 5 GHz and XIA PIXIE-16 modules with 250 MHz), vacuum chambers, 3D printers, analogue electronics, gamma-ray and particle detectors; all in new refurbished laboratories with high-speed internet and high-performing computers.
Research involves cancer imaging, underground radiation in industrial areas and new ancillary detectors to be coupled with GAMKA and elsewhere.
The project is sponsored by STFC’s Global Global Challenges Research Funds in the UK [PI: DG Jenkins, SS Ntshangase & Nico Orce] as well as UWC, UZ and NITheCS (Total Budget~R15M).
UWC & UZ students undergo 4 weeks of intense training with particle detectors and GEANT simulations at the University of York.
Impact: securing state-of-the-art nuclear training for the new generation of students at two historically disadvantaged institutions with modern research capabilities and exchange programs.
GEANT4 Simulations & Outcomes
The Modern African Nuclear DEtector LAboratory at UWC and UZ will focus on developing new state-of-the-art particle detectors manufactured in-house in order to test and characterize them with both analog and digital systems. These modern detector labs will also serve as undergraduate and postgraduate teaching+learning laboratory, where modern hands-on pracs based on the use of particle and gamma detectors in both analog and digital systems will be implemented (e.g., alpha scattering, target thickness, particle-gamma coincidence measurements, big-data sorting or analog vs digital). High-performing computing facilities will be used to monitor big-data experiments online. To some extend our students will have a facility to run their own experiments with similar data acquisition and experimental set ups than those found @ iThemba LABS or CERN.
Funding is provided by the STFC Council in the UK through the GCRF program (PI: Prof David Jenkins, The University of York), UWC and UZ, and the NRF. XIA LLC and Micron Semiconductors are sponsors of the lab.
Experimental Nuclear Physics has formed the backbone in human knowledge about matter and materials. Heavy elements that are synthesized in the laboratories have helped to explore the island of atomic nuclei. Cutting-edge accelerator technologies and the numerous detection systems have made it possible to obtain valuable insight into the nuclear structure and its associated dynamics. However, the experiments in nuclear and particle physics depend upon the detection of particles. Interaction of nuclear radiation/particles with materials helps in the development of detector technologies. Even in many other areas of science nuclear radiation detector has played a vital role. Very rapid strides are being made in the design and operation of these detectors. Keeping this view in mind a state-of-art detector facility is being developed at the department of Physics & Astronomy at UWC.
The upcoming Modern African Nuclear DEtector LAboratory – to be requested the name of MANDELA after commissioning – will give a boost to the Fundamental Nuclear Physics and Nuclear Applications Programs between the South African Universities of the Western Cape and Zululand. The Modern African Nuclear DEtector LAboratory will be able to develop state-of-art ancillary detectors can be coupled with the GAMKA spectrometer at iThemba LABS and elsewhere. It is planned to make this as an in-house facility which will be embedded with array of various detectors such as plastic scintillators, CsI, NaI, silicon and gas detectors. Upon successfully commissioning, this facility will be a benchmark for etector development in Africa. Moreover, its benefits to our undergraduate and postgraduate students are countless.