Nuclear and Particle Physics

The Nuclear and Particle Physics Group undertakes research across all aspects of subatomic physics, from experimental and theoretical particle physics (including dark matter) to theoretical work in quantum chromodynamics (QCD), nuclear structure, and neutron stars.

Our staff and students are involved in international collaborations such as the Large Hadron Collider (especially the ATLAS and Belle II experiments) and in cutting-edge research in areas such as effective field theories and QCD, amongst others. Investigating the true nature of dark matter also is part of the work being done here.

The Group enjoys strong national and international links with other theory groups and experimentalists at major laboratories such as CERN (Switzerland), Jefferson Lab (USA), and J-PAC and KEK (Japan). We have a long history of seminars and colloquia involving staff, students and- when possible- overseas researchers. Many students have gone on to significant positions in institutions across the world, and there is a vibrant student community.

  • Academic staff

    Name Position/Title Research interests Area Publications
    Dr. Irene Bolognino Lecturer Dark matter / SABRE / Cygnus CDMPP InspireHEP
    A/Prof. Gary Hill CI CDMPP Dark matter / SABRE CDMPP InspireHEP 
    Prof. Paul Jackson CI CDMPP Experimental collider physics HEP, CDMPP InspireHEP 
    Prof. Derek Leinweber Associate Director CSSM QCD CSSM InspireHEP 
    Prof. Anthony Thomas AC FAA Director CSSM, CI CDMPP   CSSM, HEP, CDMPP InspireHEP 
    Prof. Martin White CI CDMPP Particle physics HEP, CDMPP InspireHEP 
    Prof. Anthony Williams Associate Director CSSM, Deputy Director CDMPP   CSSM, CDMPP, HEP InspireHEP 
    A/Prof. Ross Young   QCD CSSM, HEP InspireHEP 
    A/Prof. James Zanotti   QCD CSSM InspireHEP
  • Research Fellows

    Name Research interests Area Publications
    Dr. Utku Can QCD CSSM InspireHEP 
    Dr. Kamiel Jansenns  


    Dr. Ayse Kizilersu QCD/QED CSSM InspireHEP 
    Dr. Max Lohe Theory CSSM InspireHEP 
    Dr. Shreya Saha     InspireHEP
    Dr. Finn Stokes     InspireHEP
    Dr. Xuan-Gong Wang Dark matter CDMPP InspireHEP 
  • Students

    Name Level Supervisor/s Area Publications
    Camron Alley PhD Jackson/White CDMPP  
    Joshua Crawford PhD Zanotti/Young CSSM  
    Shanette De La  Motte PhD Jackson/Young   InspireHEP 
    Aman Desai PhD Jackson/White CDMPP  
    Matthew Fewell PhD Jackson/White CDMPP  
    Emily Filmer PhD Jackson/White CDMPP InspireHEP 
    James Gallagher PhD Jackson/White CDMPP  
    Kenn Goh PhD Williams/Sengupta    
    Charles Grant PhD Jackson/White CDMPP  
    Matthew Green PhD White/Jackson CDMPP  
    *Minh Tan Ha PhD Hill/Jackson CDMPP  
    Cameron Harris PhD Jackson CDMPP  
    Liam Hockley PhD Thomas/Leinweber CSSM  
    Tomas Howson PhD Young/Zanotti CSSM InspireHEP 
    Nabil Humphrey PhD Zanotti/Young CSSM  
    Nicholas Hunt-Smith PhD Thomas/White CDMPP InspireHEP 
    Wasif Husain PhD Thomas/Leinweber CDMPP InspireHEP 
    Thomas Kabelitz PhD Leinweber/Waseem CSSM  
    Albert Kong PhD Jackson/ CDMPP InspireHEP 
    Judith Kull PhD Jackson/ CDMPP  
    Kyle Leaver PhD Hill/Williams CDMPP  
    Jesper Leong PhD Thomas/Leinweber CSSM InspireHEP 
    Nicolas Leerdam PhD White/Williams CDMPP  
    Jesper Leong PhD Thomas/Leinweber CSSM  
    Bill Loizos PhD Williams/Wang CDMPP  
    Jordan McKee PhD Zanotti/Young/Can CSSM  
    Jackson Mickley PhD Leinweber/Kamleh CSSM  
    Shiryu Owa PhD Thomas/Leinweber CSSM InspireHEP 
    Hitarthi Pandya PhD Jackson/White CDMPP  
    Skye Platten PhD Williams CSSM  
    Haylea Purnell PhD Jackson/White CDMPP  
    Tristan Ruggeri PhD Jackson/White CDMPP InspireHEP 
    Matthew Rumley PhD Thomas/Young CSSM  
    Rose Smail PhD Young/Zanotti CSSM  
    Edmund Ting PhD White/Jackson CDMPP InspireHEP 
    Ian van Schalkwyk PhD Zanotti/YOung CSSM  
    Bradley Wegener PhD Young/Zanotti CSSM  
    Tazwar Zaheen PhD Kizilersu/Thomas CSSM  
    Connor Carrington MPhil Kizilersu/Thomas CSSM  
    Joshua Gill MPhil Williams/Sengupta CDMPP  
    Ragib Hasan MPhil Leinweber CSSM  
    Duncan McClay MPhil Williams/Sengupta CDMPP  
    Joshua Perks MPhil Zanotti/Young CSSM  
    George Sanamyan MPhil Williams/Sengupta CDMPP  
    Thomas Schar MPhil Young/Zanotti CSSM  
    Ewan Wallace MPhil White/Williams CDMPP  
    Lula Abdirashid Ali Hons Zanotti/Young/Can CSSM  
    Jake Felix Hons Thomas/Wang CDMPP  
    Keith Kelley Hons Stokes CSSM  
    Kael Kemp Hons Jackson CDMPP  
    Alex Moulds Hons Young/Zanotti CSSM
    Finn Pelling Hons Thomas/Wang CDMPP
  • Support staff

    Name Role
    Emily Campbell Office administrator
    Dr. Padric McGee Research support
    Ramona Rogers Systems admin.
    Silvana Santucci Office administrator
    Jonathan Woithe Systems admin.
    Sharon Johnson PA (retired)
  • HEP Computing Cluster

    The High-Energy Physics (HEP) computing cluster at the University of Adelaide is available for researchers in the ARC Special Research Centre for the Subatomic Structure of Matter (CSSM), High-Energy Physics (HEP) group and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics (CDMPP). Requests for student accounts should be directed to supervisors.

    The cluster consists of a number of loosely-coupled computers which can be used to run jobs.  Five AMD Ryzen-based systems are managed by the Slurm queuing system, with an additional Ryzen used for manually-managed jobs.  A further six Intel Xeon computers are available for ad hoc jobs, software development, and debugging.  A high-performance Hewlett Packard node is included for specialised work which requires high core counts and a large amount of memory.

    All systems provide a common software environment which includes CVMFS, python, OpenMPI, and CUDA. Through CVMFS, a large number of software packages can be accessed, including ROOT, Geant4, various compiler environments, and many versions of python. The primary way of accessing the cluster machines is through ssh.

    The nodes in the cluster all have access to a RAID-5 NAS, which provides high-bandwidth, high-capacity storage for all users.

  • Visitors

    Dr. Wally Melnitchouk QCD
    Dr. Emmanuel Moulin Dark matter
    Prof. Peter Tandy QCD
    Dr. Laura Venuti Star formation
  • Past members

    Please see this page for a list of past members of the various NUPP research areas.


Centre for the Subatomic Structure of Matter (CSSM)

The CSSM has a strong international reputation and works at the forefront of advances in our understanding of the structure of hadronic matter. Hadronic matter makes up almost the entire mass of the tangible universe, from the protons and neutrons that are within the nuclei inside atoms and molecules, to neutron stars.

Centre for the Subatomic Structure of Matter (CSSM)

High-Energy Physics (HEP)

HEP is concerned with studying particle physics, particularly with regards to understanding physics at modern collider experiments and searching for new fundamental physical laws. This includes both the experimental and theoretical aspects of these topics. 

Our researchers are also involved in the development and operation of computing resources for particle physics research, particularly GAMBIT.

High-Energy Physics (HEP)

ARC CoE for Dark Matter Particle Physics (CDMPP) - Adelaide node

A number of staff and students within the Group also are involved with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics, which is exploring the nature of dark matter- one of the greatest puzzles in contemporary physics.

Adelaide node of the CDMPP


  • 2024 News

    February 2024 : We welcome Shreya Saha and Kamiel Jansenns as new postdocs.

    February 9th 2024 : Harish Potti is moving to a Research Associate position at the University of Sydney. He joined us in April 2021, and we wish him well in his new position.

    January 25th 2024 : We farewell Dipan Sengupta (Research Fellow 2022-2024) and Laura Venuti (Visitor) today. Dipan will be taking up a tenure position at UNSW, and we wish them both well for their future endeavours.

  • 2023 News

    October 10th 2023 : Tony Thomas and colleagues from the Centre for Dark Matter Particle Physics and the Jefferson Lab (Virginia, USA), have investigated a possible connection between dark photons and dark matter. Recent media exposure includes an article in the Financial Review (requires a subscription to view), and the University's Newsroom. The work is published in the Journal of High-Energy Physics.

    August 22nd 2023 : In Education Today, NUPP PhD candidate Emily Filmer discusses the need for diversity in role models for STEM careers, especially when students' direct exposure to such role models is limited. 

    August 9th 2023 : Tony Thomas was interviewed on ABC Radio Afternoons, discussing aspects of the Large Hadron Collider. The interview may be heard here.

    August 9th 2023 : NUPP researcher Dipan Sengupta gave a public lecture as part of the CDMPP National Quantum & Dark Matter Road Trip. A recording of Dipan's lecture may be found here.

    August 2nd 2023 : NUPP researcher Irene Bolognino gave a public lecture relating to SABRE South and the search for dark matter. This was on behalf of the Astronomical Society of South Australia. A recording of Irene's lecture may be found here.

    July 2023 : HEP PhD candidate Emily Filmer was awarded the Best Poster prize at Lepton Photon 2023, for her poster entitled "Searching for BSM physics using challenging and long-lived signatures with the ATLAS Detector."

    July 2023 : We are pleased to welcome Emily Campbell as a new member of our office staff.

    May 2023 : We are approaching the end of an era at CSSM. Sharon Johnson, who has made CSSM her home away from home for the last 28 years, is about to retire. In addition to the academic staff, generations of students have benefitted from her guidance and caring support. During her tenure, Sharon has successfully led the professional support for more than 40 conferences and workshops. She has also given support to a stream of international visitors, providing assistance with travel and accommodation as well as guidance on local customs and attractions. We thank Sharon for her outstanding service and wish her the very best in the next stage of her life.

    Farewell dinner for Sharon Johnson, May 2023.

    Farewell dinner for Sharon Johnson, May 2023.

    March 31st 2023 : Emeritus Professor Timothy Londergan of Indiana University presented a public lecture entitled "Ten Misleading Claims by Climate Change Deniers". Professor Londergan is a (retired) theoretical nuclear physicist with a strong interest in countering misinformation and denialism, and is a long-time visitor to the CSSM. Professor Tony Thomas (NUPP) introduced Professor Londergan for this public event. A video of the presentation (~400MB in size) may be found here.

    March 7th 2023 : Former NUPP PhD graduate, Prof. Phiala Shanahan (now at MIT), has been named "Innovator of the Year" at the South Australian Woman of the Year Awards, for her significant contribution to her field of research.

  • 2022 News

    November 28th : Professor Anthony Thomas (with Dr. Pierre Guichon (IRFU, Saclay)) was awarded ARC Discovery Project funding for the project "A New Approach to the Structure of Atomic Nuclei".

    November 21st : we are pleased to announce that a LIEF grant proposal (details below) led by Professor Paul Jackson was successful:

    • Enabling the future of the Australian collider physics program – the project aims to fund the continuation of Australia’s experimental particle physics program to explore how the universe works at its fundamental levelResearchers study subatomic matter at the energy frontier at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider and the intensity frontier at Japan’s SuperKEKB collider. Chief investigator: Professor Paul Jackson. Funding: $2,827,000.


    November 19th : Professor Anthony Thomas presented a talk on The Role of Nuclear Power in a Sustainable Future at the 19th Biennial Meeting of the Alexander von Humboldt Association  in Geelong.

    November 16th : further to the item below, Professor Shannahan also was awarded the 2022 James McWha Rising Star Award.

    November 14th : former CSSM PhD student Professor Phiala Shannahan  (now at MIT) was awarded the Australian Institute of Physics' Ruby Payne-Scott Award  for "...key insights into the structure and interactions of hadrons and nuclei using numerical and analytical methods and pioneering the use of machine learning techniques in lattice quantum field theory calculations in particle and nuclear physics."

    August 19th : today marked the official completion of the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory, the future home of the SABRE South dark matter direct-detection experiment. Adelaide NUPP members, as part of the CDMPP, are working on this experiment.

  • 2020 News

    January 2020 : Professor Anthony Thomas was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in this year's Australia Day honours, for "eminent service to scientific education and research, particularly in the field of nuclear and particle physics, through academic leadership roles."

Seminar series

The Seminar Series runs fortnightly on Wednesdays, at 16:00 in Room 121.

Everyone is welcome. Please also join everyone in the CSSM/CDMPP common area for afternoon tea/coffee after the seminars and a chance for an informal chat with students and academics.

If you would like to present a seminar, please contact the organiser, Liam Hockley (, or Anthony Thomas.

It has run for many years (with a break in 2020), and is an excellent forum for discussing recent work and results. 

  • 2024 seminar schedule and details

    Date Presenter Topic Abstract
    2024/4/17 Dr. Kamiel Janssens Understanding the fundaments of the universe - listening to the symphony of gravitational waves

    After centuries of carefully performed experiments and groundbreaking theories validating and constructively building upon each other, physicists obtained a comprehensive understanding of the Universe. However, this profound knowledge of the Universe pertains to only a tiny fraction of the entire Universe, i.e. barely 5%. Meanwhile we are left searching for the nature of dark matter and dark energy.

    One potential way to learn more about these concepts is to listen to the gravitational wave background originating from the earliest epochs of our Universe.
    However, to have confidence in a future detection we need exquisite knowledge of the quality of our detectors data.

    In this talk I will highlight some of the interesting physics we can study by searching for a gravitational wave background. I will discuss the strong evidence for a first signal detection which was found by several pulsar timing arrays as well as how lightning strikes could become a dominant background for the search for a gravitational wave background using Earth-based detectors.

    2024/4/10 A/Prof. Matt Dolan (U. Melb.) Precise Predictions and New Insights for the Migdal Effect The scattering of neutral particles by an atomic nucleus can lead to electronic ionisation and excitation through a process known as the Migdal effect. I will describe the necessity of revisiting previous calculations to provide more accurate predictions which allow for large nuclear recoil velocities and incorporate the effects of multiple ionisation. These results are relevant for dark matter direct detection searches, as well as ongoing experiments involving neutron sources. I will also discuss the sensitivity of the HydroX proposal to dope the LZ experiment with hydrogen using the Migdal effect. HydroX could have sensitivity to dark matter masses as low as 5 MeV for both spin-independent and spin-dependent scattering, with XLZD extending that reach to lower cross sections. This technique would substantially enhance the sensitivity of direct detection to spin-dependent proton scattering, well beyond the reach of any current experiments.


  • 2023 seminar schedule and details

    Date Presenter Topic Abstract
    2023/12/15 Prof. Chris Allton (Swansea) FASTSUM like it hot

    QCD has a rich phase structure, much of which is not fully understood. Above the deconfining temperature, QCD exists in a relatively weakly interacting “quark-gluon plasma” phase where quarks are no longer confined. This plasma phase existed briefly in the very early Universe, and, incredibly, can be reproduced in particle experiments in e.g. CERN, where heavy lead nuclei are collided in the Large Hadron Collider. The theoretical understanding of this phase can contribute to the analysis and interpretation of these heavy-ion collision experiments.


    This talk will review the FASTSUM Collaboration’s studies of thermal QCD. It will include baryon and bottomonium spectrum calculations, results from the inter-quark potential, gluon propagator studies and an intriguing result where a pionic rabbit is pulled from a rho hat.

    2023/9/6 Rose Smail Constraining beyond the Standard Model nucleon isovector charges At the TeV scale, low-energy precision observations of neutron characteristics provide unique probes of novel physics. Precision studies of neutron decay observables are susceptible to Beyond the Standard Model (BSM) tensor and scalar interactions, while the neutron electric dipole moment, dn, also has high sensitivity to new BSM CP-violating interactions. To fully utilise the potential of future experimental neutron physics programs, matrix elements of appropriate low-energy effective operators within neutron states must be precisely calculated. We present results from the QCDSF/UKQCD/CSSM collaboration for the isovector charges gT, gA and gS of the nucleon, Σ (Sigma) and  Ξ (Xi) baryons using lattice QCD methods and the Feynman-Hellmann theorem. We use a flavour symmetry-breaking method to systematically approach the physical quark mass, using ensembles that span five lattice spacings and multiple volumes. We extend this existing flavour-breaking expansion to also account for lattice spacing and finite volume effects in order to quantify all systematic uncertainties.
    2023/8/23 Dr. Catalina Curceanu (INFN) Testing Quantum Mechanics Underground in the Cosmic Silence: Quantum Collapse models and Pauli Exclusion Principle Violation

    We are experimentally investigating possible departures from the standard quantum mechanics’ predictions at the Gran Sasso underground laboratory in Italy. In particular, with refined radiation detectors, we are searching for signals predicted by the dynamical collapse models (spontaneous emission of radiation) which were proposed to solve the “measurement problem” in quantum physics, and signals indicating a possible violation of the Pauli Exclusion Principle.

    I shall discuss our recent results which ruled out the natural parameter-free version of the gravity-related collapse model. I shall then present more generic results on testing CSL (Continuous Spontaneous Localization) collapse models and discuss future perspectives.

    Finally, I shall briefly present the VIP experiment, with which we look for possible violations of the Pauli Exclusion Principle by searching for “impossible” atomic transitions, and comment on the impact of this research in relation to Quantum Gravity models.

    I shall take this opportunity to stimulate discussions and collaborations with the strong Australian quantum community, also in the view of proposing similar experimental research at an underground physics laboratory in Australia.

    2023/8/9 Dr. Jiajun Wu The Study of the Singularity of Single loop in Decay process The singularity of single loop may play an important role in the understanding of experimental data. For example, triangle singularity has been found to generate some special peaks in the invariant mass spectrum of final states. It will effect to extract resonance state. In this talk, we will provide a new geometric method to show how to extract the condition of singularity of single loop in decay process with triangle and box diagram. And then we will obtain a general condition for any number of intermediate particles.
    2023/8/2 Dr. Catalina Curceanu (INFN) Kaonic atoms at the DAΦNE Collider in Italy: a strangeness Odyssey

    The low-energy QCD, the theory within the Standard Model describing the strong interaction, is still missing fundamental experimental result for allowing a breakthrough in its understanding. Among these experimental results, the low-energy kaon-nucleon/nuclei interaction studies are playing an important role, with an impact going from particle and nuclear physics to astrophysics (neutron stars and their equation of state).


    Combining the excellent quality low-energy kaon beam delivered by the DAΦNE collider in Frascati (Italy) with new experimental techniques, as fast and very precise X ray detectors, like the Silicon Drift Detectors, we have performed unprecedented measurements in the low-energy strangeness sector in the framework of the SIDDHARTA Collaboration and are presently running the SIDDHARTA-2 experiment for very challenging kaonic atoms measurements, such as kaonic deuterium first measurement.


    I shall introduce the physics of kaonic atoms, the experiments performed at DAΦNE and the very first results of the ongoing SIDDHARTA-2 run. I shall also discuss future plans.

    The experiments at the DAΦNE collider represents a unique opportunity in the world to deliver fundamental experimental results to unlock the secrets of the QCD in the strangeness sector and contribute to better understand the role of strangeness in the Universe, from nuclei to the stars.


    “Each man delights in the work that suits him best.” ― Homer, The Odyssey

    2023/07/26 Josh Crawford Transverse Force Distributions in the Proton from Lattice QCD Transverse force tomography is a field still in its infancy and offers a new approach to our understanding of forces in quantum chromodynamics. Many studies focus on leading-twist (twist-2) observables from deep inelastic scattering, which often have single-parton interpretations, such as the longitudinal momentum distribution of partons. In this study, we look at twist-3 matrix elements, which describe quark-gluon correlations. It is from these quark-gluon correlations that we can extract information about the transverse “Colour-Lorentz” force acting on the quarks. Lattice QCD provides a natural method for extracting the relevant off-forward matrix elements necessary for computing these forces. In this talk, I will provide some background on the theory behind this formalism, a summary of our exploratory lattice QCD calculation, and some new directions we’re heading in for the remainder of my PhD.
    2023/07/19 Dr. Roger Horsley (Edinburgh) alpha_s from lattice QCD - the FLAG perspective  
    2023/04/05 Matthew Fewell Tackling a loose end: a proposal for a model-independent measurement of B-meson spin  
    2023/03/15 Meera Deshpande Master's completion review
  • 2022 seminar schedule and details

    Date  Presenter Topic
    2022/11/02 Gabriel Collin Statistical inference of astrophysical point-sources
    2022/10/19 Utku Can Lattice 2022 review
    2022/09/21 Max Amerl MPhil work on hadron jets
    2022/09/07 Various Cairns 3MT presentations; Tony Williams (Dark matter, SUPL and SABRE)
    2022/08/10 Various Cairns 3MT presentations; and Peter Tandy, Wally Melnitchouk, Zhan-Wei Liu on academia
    2022/06/29 A/Prof. Ross Young Precision measurements and Lattice QCD
    2022/06/22 A/Prof. Claudia Szabo LGBTQIA+ Ally Training
    2022/06/15 Dr. Irene Bolognino Status of the SABRE experiment
    2022/06/01 Dr. Harish Potti Shedding light on a single truth quark
    2022/05/11 Dr. George Stamatescu Dynamic mean field programming
    2022/05/04 Prof. Paul Jackson A Career in Academia
    2022/05/04 Dr. Laura Venuti (SETI) Colours of stellar youth - Dynamical evolution of young stars and their planet-forming disks across the wavelength spectrum
    2022/04/14 Dr. Yong Zhao (Argonne) Lattice QCD Determination of the x-dependence of PDFs
    2022/04/06 Dr. Dipan Sengupta How Valid Are Theories of Extra Dimensions?
  • 2021 seminar schedule and details

    Date Presenter Topic
    2021/12/15 Dr. Waseem Kamleh PaCER / EmPRiSM: The path to Exascale computing
    2021/10/13 Various Senior PhD student updates
    2021/08/04 Shanette de la Motte Diversity and Inclusion Activities of the Belle II Collaboration
    2021/07/20 Mischa Batelaan / Tomas Howson / James Biddle Nucleon Form Factors from the Feynman-Hellmann Method in Lattice QCD / Direct Measurement and Renormalisation of Quark and Gluon Momentum Fractions in the Quenched Approximation / Centre Vortex Structure in 2+1 Flavour QCD
    2021/07/07 Anna Mullin
    Network analysis for particle colliders
    2021/06/23 Dr. Harish Potti Seeing a single top quark: Search for the associated production of a single top quark and a photon with the ATLAS experiment
    2021/06/09 Melissa McIntyre A New Model for Dose-Response of Cells in Hadron Therapy
    2021/05/26 Dr. Ryan Bignall (Swansea) Magnetic Polarisabilities from lattice QCD
    2021/05/12 Prof. Tony Thomas Short-Range Correlations and the EMC Effect: via Nuclear Structure and Neutrino Stars
    2021/04/28 Alec Hannaford Gunn Generalised parton distributions from lattice Feynman-Hellmann techniques

Workshops and conferences

Over the last two-and-a-half decades, staff and students in the various NUPP areas have organised and participated in a large number of workshops and conferences.

These range from local or national events that include mainly Australian participants, to major international conferences involving hundreds of delegates. The history of these events provides a valuable insight into the progress of these investigations at Adelaide, the changes in local personnel over the years, and developments in the topics covered by this research.

A list of past events may be found here.



Contact us

Tel: +61 831 33533

Room 126, Physics Building, North Terrace campus, University of Adelaide

Page author : Dr. Padric McGee