Skip to main content
Think and Do The Extraordinary
Support the Department

Kent Leung

Research Assistant Professor

Department of Physics



PhD: Technical University of Munich, Germany and research fellowship at Institut Laue-Langevin, France

BS and MS: University of Auckland, New Zealand

Dr. Kent Leung’s research interests lie in the areas of Fundamental Symmetries and Beyond Standard Model searches using low-energy, high-precision nuclear and particle physics experiments. These experiments allow us to address profound questions such as: Are there new forces or particles out there that we haven’t discovered yet? What are the fundamental symmetries of our physical laws? Why do some laws appear to have symmetries extremely fine-tuned? Is the Standard Model complete? Why was there more matter than anti-matter remaining after the Big Bang? How did nuclei form during the Big Bang?

In Auckland, working under the supervision of Prof. Paul Barker, high-precision half-life measurements of positron-emitting Carbon-10, the lightest of the super-allowed 0+ to 0+ beta decay transitions, were performed in collaboration with Prof. Aidan Byrne at the 14 UD tandem pelletron accelerator, Australian National University, Canberra. Subsequently, Kent’s research focus shifted to ultra-cold neutrons (UCNs), free neutrons produced from nuclear fission or spallation that are cooled down to E < 300neV and v < 7m/s (or T < 2mK). At the ILL, a pan-European 50MW scientific reactor facility, research under the guidance of Prof. Oliver Zimmer was performed on the production of UCNs in superfluid helium and magnetic trapping of UCNs for high-precision measurements of the neutron lifetime.


Research Description

Kent currently works with Prof. Paul Huffman and Prof. Bob Golub at NCSU on the neutron electric dipole moment (nEDM) experiment that involves a collaboration of 20 universities and national laboratories. This experiment will take place at the Spallation Neutron Source, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, TN, and is currently in its demonstration phase. A key component of this project is the construction and development of a systematics studies test apparatus to be operated at NCSU's PULSTAR reactor facility. Kent is also the manager of the measurement cell development activities for the SNS nEDM collaboration, where research involving VUV florescent, ultracold neutron-friendly, cryogenically-robust, and polarized 3He maintaining deuterated plastic coatings and cell construction are performed. Kent is also currently performing data evaluation of the A=2 system for the Nuclear Data group of the Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory (TUNL), Durham, NC, which is a part of the United States Nuclear Data Network and the international Nuclear Structure and Decay Data Evaluators' Network.


Complete list of publications


View CV

Selected Publications

Solid deuterium surface degradation at ultracold neutron sources
A Anghel, TL Bailey, G Bison, B Blau, LJ Broussard, SM Clayton, ...
The European Physical Journal, A 54 (9), (2018), 148, doi:10.1140/epja/i2018-12594-2

Spin flip loss in magnetic confinement of ultracold neutrons for neutron lifetime experiments
A. Steyerl, K.K.H. Leung, C. Kaufman, G. Müller, and S.S. Malik
Physical Review C, 95, (2017), 035502, doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.95.035502

Neutron lifetime measurements and effective spectral cleaning with an ultracold neutron trap using a vertical halbach octupole permanent magnet array
K. K. H. Leung, P. Geltenbort, S. Ivanov, F. Rosenau, and O. Zimmer.
Physical Review C, 94, (2016), 045502, doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.94.045502

Position-sensitive detection of ultracold neutrons with an imaging camera and its implications to spectroscopy
W. Wei, L. J. Broussard, M. A. Hoffbauer, M. Makela, C. L. Morris, Z. Tang [...] K. K. Leung [...] and Zhehui Wang.
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A, 830, (2016), 36-43, doi:10.1016/j.nima.2016.05.058

Ultracold-neutron production and up-scattering in superfluid helium between 1.1 K and 2.4 K
K. K. H. Leung, S. Ivanov, F. M. Piegsa, M. Simson, and O. Zimmer.
Physical Review C, 93, (2016), 025501, doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.93.025501

Experimental study of ultracold neutron production in pressurized superfluid helium
P. Schmidt-Wellenburg, J. Bossy, E. Farhi, M. Fertl, K. K. H. Leung, A. Rahli, T. Soldner, and O. Zimmer.
Physical Review C, 92, (2015), 024004, doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.92.024004

New source for ultracold neutrons at the Institut Laue-Langevin
F. M. Piegsa, M. Fertl, S. N. Ivanov, M. Kreuz, K. K. H. Leung, P. Schmidt-Wellenburg, T. Soldner, and O. Zimmer.
Physical Review C, 90, (2014), 015501, doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.90.015501

A comparison of two magnetic ultra-cold neutron trapping concepts using a Halbach-octupole array
K. Leung, S. Ivanov, F. Martin, F. Rosenau, M. Simson, and O. Zimmer
World Scientific, June, (2014), doi:10.1142/9789814571678_0015

The Proton Spectrum in Neutron Beta Decay: Latest Results with the aSPECT Spectrometer
G. Konrad, F. Ayala Guardia, S. Bae[ss]ler, M. Borg, F. Gluck, W. Heil, I. Konorov, K. K. H. Leung, R. Munoz Horta, M. Simson, Y. Sobolev, T. Soldner, H.-F. Wirth, O. Zimmer
Nuclear Physics A, Volume 827, (2009), Issues 1-4, PANIC08 - Proceedings of the 18th Particles and Nuclei International Conference, doi:10.1016/j.nuclphysa.2009.05.114

Proposed neutron lifetime measurement using a hybrid magnetic trap for ultra-cold neutrons
K. K. H. Leung and O. Zimmer
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A, 611(2-3), (2009), 181-185, doi:10.1016/j.nima.2009.07.087

Half-life of the superallowed positron emitter 10C
P. H. Barker, K. K. H. Leung, and A. P. Byrne
Physical Review C, 79, (2009), 024311, doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.79.024311

Measuring the proton spectrum in neutron decay - latest results with aSPECT
M. Simson, F. Ayala Guardia, S. Baessler, M. Borg, F. Gluck, W. Heil, I. Konorov, G. Konrad, R. Munoz Horta, K. K. H. Leung, Yu. Sobolev, T. Soldner, H.-F. Wirth.
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A 611, (2-3), (2009), 203-206, doi:10.1016/j.nima.2009.07.068

Solid deuterium surface degradation at ultracold neutron sources
A. Anghel[...] P. Huffman, T.M. Ito, K. Kirch, E. Korobkina, B. Lauss, K. Leung, [...]G. Zsigmond
The European Physical Journal A, 54(9):148, 9 (2018) doi:10.1140/epja/i2018-12594-2 (EPJ-A highlights), ()