Nuclear Physics

The mission of the nuclear physics program is to discover, explore, and understand all forms of nuclear matter.

Although the fundamental particles that compose nuclear matter – quarks and gluons – are themselves relatively well understood, exactly how they interact and combine to form the different types of matter observed in the universe today and during its evolution remains largely unknown.

The nuclear physics research is focused on understanding the matter composed of quarks and gluons, which makes up 99% of the visible mass of the universe; as well as the fundamental nature of the neutrinos. Our current research program includes both experimental nuclear physics research and theoretical nuclear physics research.

On the experimental side, our group has research programs on studies of hot QCD (Quantum ChromoDynamics) matter of quarks and gluons, on the QCD spin structure of the proton, and on searches for neutrinoless double beta decays. The group has been active in the STAR (Solenoidal Tracker at RHIC) experiment and recently became a founding member of the newly formed sPHENIX experiment at Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) in the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL).

The neutrino program centers on the CUORE experiment at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy.  Recently we have been studying quark chirality properties of the quark-gluon plasma (QGP) at RHIC, such as chiral magnetic effect (CME) and chiral magnetic wave (CMW). The UCLA group has been a leading experimental group in the study of chirality effects in nucleus-nucleus collisions.

On the theoretical side, our group has main interests in high-energy nuclear theory. We work on high energy phenomenology, primarily in QCD and strong interaction, and their applications in high energy nuclear and particle physics.

Our research spans over three directions: QCD structure of the nucleon and spin physics; Perturbative QCD and effective field theory in high energy physics; Hard scattering in nucleus and heavy ion collisions. Our research efforts are closely connected to the experimental programs at RHIC at BNL, Jefferson Lab, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Europe, as well as the future Electron Ion Collider (EIC) in US, recently recommended as a highest priority in U.S. Department of Energy's 2015 Long Range Plan for Nuclear Science.

For more information, click here for the Nuclear Physics Group website.