Artemis Spyrou



My research interests extend into two fields, both in experimental nuclear physics. For the first one I study nuclear reactions that take place inside stars and through different astrophysical processes are responsible for the synthesis of all known elements. My second field of interest is focused on the structure of light nuclei, which are so neutron-rich that they are beyond the limits of existence.

Nuclear Astrophysics

The elements that we observe today on earth were all created inside stars through different types of nuclear reactions. Starting with hydrogen and helium the light elements are produced by reaction cycles, which burn the existing fuel and slowly build the heavier nuclei up to the region of iron. Above iron most elements are created through two processes (s- and r-process), which involve neutron-induced reactions together with β-decays. There is, however, a small group of proton-rich nuclei, called “p-nuclei”, which cannot be created by these neutron-processes but rather by a different process called “p process”. There are several open questions governing the creation of the p nuclei since none of the existing astrophysical models is able to reproduce their abundances well enough. My work as an experimentalist is to study the nuclear reactions involved in these astrophysical processes. For this purpose my group developed the SuN detector, a total absorption gamma-ray spectrometer, which is used for measuring reaction rates and beta-decay properties important for the nucleosynthesis processes.

The SuN detector was constructed at NSCL in 2011 for important astrophysical measurements.

SuN Group Website

Nuclear Structure

At the same time I’m also a member of the MoNA collaboration, which focuses on experiments with very exotic beams in order to study the characteristics of very neutron-rich nuclei at the bottom of the nuclear chart. These nuclei live for such a small time that no devise can capture them to study their properties. In our experiments we observe the products of their decay, which are a high-energy neutron and the remaining charged nucleus. The emitted products can then be used to reconstruct the original exotic nucleus and study its structure. The Modular Neutron Array (MoNA) detects the emitted neutrons providing information about their energy and position. This experimental setup has been used by the MoNA Collaboration to study the properties of nuclei along the neutron drip line, with many exciting findings such as new magic numbers and di-neutron decays.

The MoNA/Sweeper setup is sued to study the properties of extremely neutron-rich nuclei.

MoNA Website


Useful links

Contact Information

Phone: +1-517-908-7141