FAIR-GSI PhD Award 2020 for Dr. Ivan Miskun


Dr. Ivan Miskun has been honored with the FAIR-GSI PhD Award 2020. The recognition, which is awarded annually, is endowed with 1000 euros donated by Pfeiffer Vacuum. The award was handed over in December during a virtual FAIR-GSI colloquium by Professor Paolo Giubellino, Scientific Director of FAIR and GSI, and Daniel Sälzer, Managing Director of Pfeiffer Vacuum GmbH.

Ivan Miskun's PhD thesis on "A Novel Method for the Measurement of Half-Lives and Decay Branching Ratios of Exotic Nuclei with the FRS Ion Catcher" was carried out at the University of Giessen in the research group of Professor Christoph Scheidenberger. The key element of this novel application is a so-called gas-filled stopping cell, which — this is the new development — is used as an ion trap with different storage times for the exotic nuclei produced and separated at the GSI fragment separator FRS.

The exotic nuclei are stopped in the gas-filled stopping cell of the FRS ion trap and stored for a certain variable period of time ranging from a few milliseconds to a few seconds. If during this time the unstable nuclei decay into different daughter nuclides in the ground state or into their excited levels, these are also stored and can subsequently be detected, identified (by highly accurate determination of their respective nuclear binding energies) and their intensity ratios be determined together with the remaining parent nuclei using a multireflection time-of-flight mass spectrometer. Metastable excited states (isomers) can also be detected and their excitation energies be precisely measured.

In his dissertation, Dr. Miskun verified that the method works reliably on several known examples, and furthermore he was able to determine the branching ratios for the energetically possible decay channels. This novel method can be used to determine a wide range of data that play a role in astrophysical nucleosynthesis processes, especially in the r-process in which fast neutron capture reactions in supernova explosions or neutron star mergers form all elements above iron up to the heaviest chemical elements within a few seconds.

GSI has a long-standing partnership with Pfeiffer Vacuum GmbH, producer of vacuum technology and pumps. Vacuum solutions from Pfeiffer Vacuum have been successfully used in GSI's facilities for decades. The annual FAIR-GSI PhD Award honors the best PhD thesis completed during the previous year.

Eligible for nominations are dissertations that were financially supported by GSI as part of its strategic partnerships with the universities of Darmstadt, Frankfurt, Giessen, Heidelberg, Jena, and Mainz, or through the research and development program. In the framework of the Graduate School HGS-HIRe (Helmholtz Graduate School for Hadron and Ion Research), more than 300 PhD students currently perform research for their PhD theses on topics closely related to GSI and FAIR. (CP)