Development of an auto-focusing system for the nuclear microprobe at the Tandem Laboratory at Uppsala Universitet

Development of an auto-focusing system for the nuclear microprobe at the Tandem Laboratory

Spring 2023

The Tandem Laboratory provides ion beams for the purposes of characterization of composition and structure of materials, ion-beam induced modification of materials and ultra-sensitive mass-spectrometry. Specifically, on the T-2 beam-line, is a nuclear microprobe capable of producing microscope images of samples identifying elements with parts-per-million detection limits across most of the periodic table. Optimisation of the ion-beam reaching the microprobe is crucial for the efficacy of its operation, with the size of the beam in particular, defining its lateral resolution. At present the lateral resolution of the microprobe is around 4 µm, but this could theoretically be improved to 1 um or less.

The microprobe is, at present, being redesigned. As part of this redesign process it is favourable to implement automation of the beam focusing system. The goal is to develop a system which can approach the theoretical limit of lateral resolution as closely as possible. To realise this goal, it is necessary: to develop a software package that can control the currents supplied to the tree quadrupole magnets focusing the ion-beam; to read in and process data on the size and shape of the beam on target; and to implement a suitable optimisation routine. The project will involve a strong coding component, but will also blend elements of construction, prototyping, modelling and data taking. The project also provides an excellent opportunity for the student to become acquainted with the broad range of research being conducted within the ion-beam physics group, and to make a long-standing contribution to the operation of the tandem accelerator.


Desired qualifications are:

excellent programming skills in either python or C++;

knowledge of nuclear physics and/or accelerator physics;

excellent skills in written and spoken English.

The work plan will consist of:

development of a software interface for controlling the currents supplied to the quadrupole magnets;

development of image acquisition and image processing algorithms for interpreting the ion-beam size and shape;

implementation of an optimisation algorithm using processed image data to refine the magnet currents;

writing of a report summarizing the results.


This degree project corresponds to 30 ECTS credits and can start during the spring 2023 semester.

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