Funding for quantum dynamics research at GSI and FAIR
FAIR (Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research), which is currently being built at GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung, will open up outstanding possibilities for experimentation. These possibilities are already attracting a great deal of interest from the scientific community. That’s because the planned FAIR accelerator facility has a huge potential to provide us with new insights. This view is also shared by the German Research Foundation (DFG), which has now approved around €168,000 in German funding for a research project that combines the activities of two world-renowned research groups (one from Germany, the other from Russia) and focuses on the research that will be conducted at GSI and FAIR in the future. Russia will provide an equivalent amount in funding for the Russian group.
Among other things, the money will be used to provide two years of funding for a postdoc position for studying the theory and experiments at GSI and FAIR. This research will focus on the PHELIX high-energy laser system, the CRYRING storage ring (FAIR’s first ion storage ring), and the ESR experimental storage ring. More specifically, the research will address the preconditions for investigating relativistic quantum dynamics in experiments at the GSI and FAIR research facilities. The DFG funding proposal was made in response to a joint German-Russian application submitted by Professor Thomas Stöhlker, Head of the Atomic Physics Division at GSI, Director of the Helmholtz Institute Jena, an outstation of GSI in Jena (HIJ), and holder of the Chair at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Institute for Optics and Quantum Electronics, and by Professor Vladimir Shabaev, Head of the Quantum Mechanics Division at St. Petersburg State University. Moreover, Dr. Angela Bräuning-Demian and Dr. Alexandre Gumberidze from the Atomic Physics Division of GSI Darmstadt are also extensively involved in the project.
Collisions of heavy ions play a key role in researching the relativistic quantum dynamics of electrons in very strong electromagnetic fields. The implementation of the FAIR project will open up new opportunities for investigating the collisions of super-heavy ions and atoms at low energies. Experimental investigations of such collisions are being planned at GSI and FAIR, and the associated theoretical studies are urgently needed. “This will be addressed by our research project, which is why it is coming at precisely the right time,” state Stöhlker and Shabaev, who also emphasize how important this work will be for the understanding of additional experimental findings at GSI/FAIR in Darmstadt.
Another important aspect is the collaboration between the two groups. While Russia covers the costs of the Russian group, Germany does the same for the German group. “It’s a very effective way for promoting international cooperation between the groups,” say Stöhlker and Shabaev.