Studying captured antiprotons: EU to grant millions of euros to new training network
The EU will provide a consortium that includes GSI with millions of euros for the training of young scientists. The consortium of national and international institutes, which, besides GSI, includes CERN, Forschungszentrum Jülich, the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, and the Austrian Academy of Sciences, is headed by the University of Liverpool/Cockcroft Institute. The consortium members jointly applied for funding for the European Training Network AVA (Accelerators Validating Antimatter physics).
Beginning in January 2017, the EU will grant almost €4 million to AVA for a period of four years, says the AVA network’s spokesperson, Carsten Welsch from the University of Liverpool. The funds will be used to train young scientists for low-energy antiproton physics at CERN and at the new accelerator center FAIR, which is currently being built at GSI.
At GSI, which will receive around €500,000 or around 13 percent of the total amount, the Nuclear Physics department and experts from the Beam Instrumentation department will play a leading role in the network. For one thing, they will develop ion trap technologies that are also suited for antiprotons. In addition, they will forge ahead with the development of cryogenic current comparators. Major contributions to this project will also be made by the Institute of Solid State Physics at Jena University and the Helmholtz Institute Jena, which is an outstation of GSI.
These systems will be used at the existing CRYRING and be installed at FAIR, where they will serve as the standard technology for the diagnosis of beam currents.
The CRYRING is one of Sweden’s contributions to FAIR and was transported from Stockholm to GSI in 2013. It was built in cooperation with GSI and initially used for experiments and machine tests at the existing GSI accelerator facility. In the long run, plans call for it to be used for carrying out nuclear physics research using slow antiprotons at FAIR.
Antiprotons, which are held in storage rings or traps at low energies, are important for the study of essential questions, such as the fundamental interactions or the static structure of antiproton atoms, as well as for gravity experiments.
GSI/FAIR is familiar territory for Carsten Welsch, the spokesperson of the EU-funded AVA network. As part of the Helmholtz support program for top young scientists, Welsch headed a Young Investigators Group at GSI and Heidelberg University from 2007 to 2012. In this position, Welsch had already actively worked within networks. His former Helmholtz Young Investigators Group has evolved into the Quantum Systems and Advanced Accelerator Research (QUASAR) team, a Europe-wide research group that focuses on the development and experimental use of particle accelerators and radiation sources. One of the team’s aims is to firmly establish accelerator physics as a subject of research and university instruction on the international level.
The AVA project receives funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 721559.