The main thrust of the research within this collaboration is utilising the hyperfine interaction in order to study the evolution of ground state nuclear structure from the line of stability to the edges of the chart of the nuclides. Utilising the interaction between the nucleus and an externally applied field, be this due to the atomic electrons or an artificially applied field, provides one of the most sensitive, non-destructive methods with which to perform this research.
The most basic method used is to perform high-precision laser resonance spectroscopy on the atomic electrons. Electromagnetic interactions between the nucleus and its surrounding electrons show up as very small changes in the absolute energy levels of those electrons. Comparing these absolute energies along a chain of isotopes of the same element give a unique method with which to determine the evolution of not only the root mean squared charge radii but also the ground (and any long lived isomeric state) moments, giving both the shape and size of the nuclei. This is also one of the few ways with which to directly obtain the nuclear spin.
In the same way that the nucleus influences the atomic electrons the electrons influence the nucleus. Utilising this phenomena, manipulation of the atomic electrons via laser interactions allows for the orientation of the nucleus to be manipulated prior to being implanted within one of a suite of detectors that can be placed at the end of the beamline. The most commonly used of these are nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers. Here, the polarised nuclei are implanted within a crystal placed within an external field. The spin orientation is then manipulated using secondary, oscillating external magnetic fields yielding very high precision magnitudes of the nuclear moments.