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GSI announces joint research project in China



2012 marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Germany and the People’s Republic of China. Dating from the end of the 1970s, there has a been a host of successful research projects involving collaboration between the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and research centres belonging to the Helmholtz Association. The latter include GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH, which has maintained scientific links with the CAS-affiliated Institute of Modern Physics (IMP) in Lanzhou ever since 1976.

The Helmholtz Association has now awarded funding to a new collaborative project with scientists from GSI, the Helmholtz Institute Jena (HI Jena) and the IMP. In October 2012 an application was granted for creation of a Helmholtz-CAS Joint Research Group (HCJRG) in the following field: “Experiments with stored highly-charged ions at the borderline between nuclear and atomic physics”. The senior scientists are Dr. Yuri Litvinov (GSI), Professor Thomas Stöhlker (HI Jena) and Professor Xinwen Ma (IMP).

Applications to set up various HCJRGs were submitted by Helmholtz centres and their CAS partners at the beginning of the year. The funding provided by the Helmholtz Association amounts to a maximum of €120,000 a year over a period of three years. The CAS will also fund the approved projects to a sum of ¥300,000 (approximately €35.000 Euro) a year for three years. All in all a total of 22 applications were submitted, from which five were selected for funding.

“One specific aim of the project is to foster the development of young scientists and doctoral students at GSI and the IMP,” explains Dr. Yuri Litvinov. “We want to give them the opportunity to establish international contacts during their time at their home institute. To this end, we’ve been given funding for staff and travel costs.”

The research project will comprise a series of coordinated experiments conducted at the Experimental Storage Ring (ESR) at GSI and the Experimental Cooler-Storage Ring (CSRe) at the IMP. Topics under investigation include the radioactive decay of highly charged ions, the measurement of the mass of short-lived nuclides, and the dielectric recombination of exotic nuclei, a process by which the binding energy that is liberated during electron capture by an ion promotes an already bound electron into an excited state.

The research project will also have a direct bearing on the new Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR) at GSI, which is an accelerator centre incorporating several storage rings. The project will include research for the Collector Ring (CR) and the High-Energy Storage Ring (HESR) at FAIR as well as for similar facilities at the planned Heavy-Ion Advanced Research Facility (HIAF) in China. In particular, scientists will be looking to develop and test components and measurement methods for later use at FAIR and HIAF. Of crucial importance here will be HI Jena’s expertise in the fields of laser and X-ray technology.