Oscar Naviliat

Professor of Physics


  • Joined the laboratory in August 2010
  • Experimental nuclear physics
  • Contact information

Education and training

  • PhD Nuclear Physics, Cath. University of Louvain (1989)


The experimental tests of the foundations of physical theories
is a cross-disciplinary domain that can hardly be grabbed
by any particular subfield of physics. The measurements
carried out for such tests are performed using particles,
nuclei, atoms, molecules or crystals, and concern the
specific subfields within the experimental techniques
being used.

My research activities have been focused on experimental
tests of discrete symmetries in the weak interaction (parity
violation and time reversal invariance) and in the searches
for new interactions through precision measurements using
muons, neutrons, and nuclei, which in most cases were
spin polarized. Some measurements also required the use
traps, such as material-, electromagnetic-, or magnetogravitational
traps, for the confinement of particles. Precision
measurements at low energies are considered an alternative
route in the search for new particles and interactions as
compared to that pursued at the highest possible energies, in
collider experiments. In general, the principles of experiments
at low energies are rather simple, but the measurements are
difficult and challenging. The design of new experiments
requires implementing modern techniques in order to reach
new levels of sensitivity.

Atomic nuclei offer a very rich spectrum of candidates for
precision measurements at low energies due to the large
number of isotopes, the diversity of states, and the different
decay modes involving the fundamental interactions. The
abundant production of rare isotopes opens further the
spectrum for the design of new sensitive experiments.

My current activities at FRIB concern beta decay experiments
using either fast or stopped beams. Fast and clean beams
have made possible measurement of the energy spectra
of beta particles without instrumental effects which were
present in past measurements. This enables the search
for possible contributions of tensor type interactions in
Gamow-Teller transitions as a signature of physics beyond
the standard model. Another project is the measurement
of polarization correlations in beta decay, using low energy
polarized nuclei, to search for deviations from maximal parity
violation. This requires the construction of a new polarimeter
for positrons that will be used with beams polarized by laser
optical pumping.

The intellectual creativity in the design of experiments, and
in particular those addressing the foundations of physical
theories, has been fascinating to me.

Scientific publications