Nuclear Physics


The students will learn about the structure of the nucleus, the properties and mutual interaction between nucleons and the way their organization determines the nuclei properties. Students will get acquainted with radioactivity as a natural process and its applications. Some aspects of applied nuclear physics will also be discussed as medical applications and material characterization.
In laboratory sessions, the students will become acquainted with practical aspects of radiation detection, involving different kind of detectors, the associated electronics and data acquisition.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

João Duarte Neves Cruz, Maria Adelaide de Almeida Pedro de Jesus


Weekly - 4

Total - 56

Teaching language



Elementary Calculus;
Elementary Quantum Mechanics;
Elementary Electromagnetism;
Elementary Atomic Physics.


Introductory Nuclear Physics – Kenneth S. Krane, John Wiley & Sons, New York (1988), ISBN 0-471-85914-1

Nuclear Physics – Principles and Applications, John S. Lilley, John Wiley & Sons, New York (2005), ISBN 0-471-97936-8

Radiation Detection and Measurement, 3rd ed. – Glenn F. Knoll, John Wiley & Sons, New York (2000), ISBN 0-471-07338-5

Física Nuclear – Theo Mayer-Kuckuk, ed. Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisboa (1979), ISBN 972-31-0598-5

Introdução à Física Atómica e Nuclear, Vol. II – L. Salgueiro e J.G. Ferreira, ed. Univ. Lisboa (1975).

Teaching method

Available soon

Evaluation method

Available soon

Subject matter

Fundamental particles and interactions. The weak interaction. The interaction between nucleons.
Angular, magnetic dipolar and electric quadrupolar moments.
Nuclear properties: the nuclear radius, charge and mass distributions. Mass, binding energy, semi-empirical mass formula.
The shell model of the nucleus; predictions and failures. Reference to collective models.
Radioactivity. Types of radioactive decay. Concepts and laws of radioactive decay. Natural radioactivity. Radioactive chains. Radioactive dating.
Alpha decay: energetics and experimental data. The theoretical model. Conservation of angular momentum and parity: selection rules. Alpha spectrometry.
Beta decay: energetics and experimental data. The Fermi model. Selection rules. Beta spectrometry.
Gamma decay: energetics. Classic and quantum models of radiation. Selection rules and internal conversion. Gamma spectrometry.
Nuclear Fission. Properties: prompt and delayed neutrons; instability of fragments.
Radiation detection; detectors; nuclear spectrometries.


Programs where the course is taught: