Six million euros for "Smallest Particles"

Giessen Physics Institutes successful in BMBF collaborative funding — Detectors for the international research facility FAIR, participation in further international experiments and complex theoretical simulations


Press release of the Justus Liebig University Gießen

The origin of mass, the properties of the building blocks of matter and their interaction in the formation of our universe — several research groups of the Physics Institutes at Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU) are dealing with fundamental questions such as these. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding their research on these topics with a total of around six million euros as part of several joint research projects.

Atomic and subatomic particles and their interactions are the focus of the BMBF Collaborative Research Program "Physics of the Smallest Particles". The program is embedded in the BMBF framework program ErUM (Erforschung von Universum und Materie). Working groups at the JLU and at other German universities are involved in research on the physics of the smallest particles at the national and international large-scale research institutions (co-financed) by the BMBF.

The working groups from the JLU Physics Institutes are particularly involved in the international research facility FAIR (Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research) currently under construction near Darmstadt, where in the near future state-of-the-art high-performance particle accelerators, ion storage rings and particle detectors will provide novel, high-precision insights into the structure and behavior of elementary particles and matter under the most extreme conditions. Such very high temperatures or pressures occurred shortly after the Big Bang or during stellar explosions and collisions of neutron stars. The Giessen working groups will receive around 5.3 million euros from the BMBF's Collaborative Research Program "Physics of the Smallest Particles" until the middle of 2021 for setting up and conducting experiments at FAIR and for theoretical investigations.

With a further 0.7 million euros, the BMBF is funding Giessen’s contributions to the Japanese BELLE-II experiment, where exotic elementary particles are produced and studied, and to the ATLAS experiment at the world's largest particle accelerator, the LHC, at the international research center CERN in Geneva.

The FAIR research program

The research program at FAIR consists of the four pillars APPA (Atomic and Plasma Physics and Applications), CBM (Compressed Baryonic Matter), NUSTAR (Nuclear Structure, Astrophysics and Reactions) and PANDA (Antiproton Annihilation in Darmstadt). Giessen Physics is active in all four research pillars.

As part of APPA, the Atomic and Molecular Physics Working Group (I. Physikalisches Institut, Prof. Dr. Stefan Schippers) is developing an intensive electron beam for precision measurements of heavy ions in the FAIR ion storage ring CRYRING for the highly accurate verification of quantum theoretical predictions. In addition, they coordinate the network of all German university groups involved in APPA.

The investigation of nuclei far from stability is expedited in NUSTAR, where Giessen Physics is involved with the working group of Prof. Dr. Christoph Scheidenberger (II. Physikalisches Institut) and builds high-precision detectors.

For the PANDA experiment, which will measure exotic hadronic states with worldwide unique precision, Giessen Physics is involved with two working groups in the development and construction of three subdetectors. The group around Prof. Dr. Kai-Thomas Brinkmann (II. Physikalisches Institut) builds the electromagnetic calorimeter and a micro-vertex detector, the group around Prof. Dr. Michael Düren (II. Physikalisches Institut) a special DISC-DIRC detector.

The CBM experiment will investigate high-density matter, similar to matter produced in the collision of neutron stars or black holes. Here, the group of Prof. Dr. Claudia Höhne (II. Physical Institute) develops and builds a RICH detector, for aspects concerning special materials there is a cooperation with Prof. Dr. Michael Dürr (Institute for Applied Physics). Part of this RICH development is already being used in the current HADES detector at the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.

Participation in further research facilities worldwide

The strong commitment to the construction of detectors at FAIR is rounded off by Giessen's participation in other research facilities worldwide, such as CERN (ATLAS experiment, Prof. Dr. Michael Düren, AR Dr. Hasko Stenzel) in Switzerland, or KEK (BELLE-II experiment, Prof. Dr. Claudia Höhne, PD Dr. Jens-Sören Lange) in Japan.

Based on the theory of strong interaction, the groups of Prof. Dr. Christian Fischer, PD Dr. Bernd-Jochen Schaefer and Prof. Dr. Lorenz von Smekal at the Institute of Theoretical Physics calculate the properties of hadrons and hadronic matter under extreme conditions using modern numerical methods and complex simulations in order to make theoretical predictions for the PANDA and CBM experiments. (JLU/CP)

Further information:

Press release of the Justus Liebig University Gießen (German)