Jun 28, 2020
In its standard form, double beta decay is a process in which a nucleus decays into a different nucleus and emits two electrons and two antineutrinos (2νββ). This nuclear transition is very rare, but it was detected in several nuclei with sophisticated experiments. If neutrinos are their own antiparticles, it’s possible that the antineutrinos emitted during double beta decay annihilate one another and disappear.
Jun 17, 2020
GANIL hosted the annual IPAC conference in GANIL but not physically in Caen but “virtually” (due the pandemic conditions). This first virtual conference was “attended ” by 3000 people from the world wide accelerator community, representing around 300 institutions/laboratories. The conference consisted of 77 prerecorded talks lasting around 25 hours and two sessions, the awards and the closing ceremony were broadcast live. A summary of statistics can be accessed here.
Jun 08, 2020
After more than four years of research and development, design and manufacturing work, the MFT (Muon Forward Tracker), a new detector that will equip the ALICE experiment at the LHC, has seen its construction finalized and is currently under commissioning at CERN.
Jun 04, 2020
On May 18th 2020, ESO formally closed the preliminary design review of the ELT/METIS thermal infrared instrument. Following this important milestone, the instrument enters into the final design phase (phase C) in which the its design will be frozen just before its building.
Jun 02, 2020
VLT/SPHERE observations of the star AB Aurigae pinpoint a giant planet in formation
Motivated by unusual features recently observed with the ALMA instrument in a proto-planetary disc around the star AB Aurigae, an international team of astrophysicists including a researcher from the Department of Astrophysics / Laboratory AIM of the CEA-Irfu of Paris-Saclay has just obtained a very sharp high-contrast image of a S-shasped sub-structure in the gaseous and dusty disc surrounding the star.
May 29, 2020
The simple question “Where does the Periodic Table end?” has excited scientific interest for a long time. In this context, understanding the structure of the heaviest nuclei, and through it their stability, is of major importance. A decade ago, there was no promising path to tackle this scientific quest.
May 20, 2020
The fourth catalog of Fermi-LAT sources comes on line
The Fermi-LAT collaboration has published its fourth source catalog, named 4FGL. Based on eight years of data, it contains 5064 celestial objects emitting gamma rays at energies around 1 GeV, adding more than 2000 high-energy sources to the previous collection (published in 2015). More than one fourth of the objects are of unknown nature, calling for numerous follow-up studies.
May 13, 2020
The EUPRAXIA project has just completed its design study phase with the delivery of the Conceptual Design Report (CDR) at the end of 2019. The strong involvement of IRFU, particularly in the field of particle beam physics, has made it possible to show that solutions exist for the realization of a plasma wakefield accelerator, with a beam quality approaching that of conventional accelerators.
Apr 29, 2020
Nucleons (protons and neutrons), the components of the atomic nucleus, can be polarized. This means that their spins are preferentially aligned along a quantization axis. The spin is a quantum property of a particle and has its classical analogue in a spinning top. The strong interaction that acts among nucleons in the atomic nucleus is sensitive to the polarization.
Apr 15, 2020
We live in a world of matter – because matter overtook antimatter, though they were both created in equal amounts by the Big Bang when our universe began. As featured on the cover of Nature on 16 April 2020, neutrinos and the associated antimatter particles, antineutrinos, are reported to have a high likelihood of differing behaviour that offers a promising path to explaining the asymmetry between matter and antimatter. These observations may explain this mysterious antimatter disappearance.
Mar 13, 2020
The highest magnetic fileds of the Universe reproduced by numerical simulations
Magnetars are neutron stars endowed with the strongest magnetic fields observed in the Universe, but their origin remains controversial.
Mar 10, 2020
INCL (Liège intranuclear cascade) is a simulation code known for its ability to model light particle-nucleus interactions. It is used in very various fields, such as proton therapy, neutron sources, radioactive ion beams or ADS's (Accelerator Driven Systems). In order to extend its capabilities in the field of higher energy reactions, in connection with cosmic rays or with the study of hypernuclei, a team of physicists led by Irfu has recently developed a new version of the code involving strange particles.
Feb 18, 2020
Following SPIRAL2's commissioning authorization issued by the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) on July 8, 2019, many crucial steps were successfully completed by the end of 2019. A first proton beam was accelerated to 33 MeV, the nominal energy by the SPIRAL2 linear accelerator (LINAC) and a first test experiment was achieved the Neutron For Science (NFS) experimental room. These first results in 2019 are very promising.
Feb 13, 2020
To measure cosmological parameters, the Euclid space telescope will use two main probes: gravitational lensing (Weak Gravitational Lensing) and galaxy distribution (Galaxy Clustering). These measurements will allow us to study dark energy and dark matter, which affect the growth of cosmic structures and the accelerated expansion of the Universe.
Jan 23, 2020
Arrived safely. The focal plane of the visible imager on the Euclid satellite has just been delivered by Irfu to the laboratory responsible for the instrument (MSSL/UK) to continue its integration into the satellite, which is scheduled to take off in 2022.  The first studies of this focal plane have been carried out at Irfu since 2010 and after almost 10 years of development and testing, it was fully tested by Irfu in 2019. This Focal Plane is composed of 36 CDDs totalizing more than 600 million pixels.
Jan 17, 2020
A few microseconds after the Big Bang the Univers may have gone through a deconfined state of quarks and gluons, the Quark–Gluon Plasma (QGP). The QGP can be recreated in high-energy heavy-ion collisions. In particular at the LHC at CERN, the QGP behaves like a fluid. All particles, light, strange, or charmed flow collectively as if being carried by the same fluid, proving the strength of the interactions between QGP constituents.
Jan 13, 2020
A collision of the Milky Way with a small galaxy accurately dated by the study of the star ν Indi
ν Indi is a bright star (visual magnitude mv = 5.3) visible with the naked-eye from the southern hemisphere. By using ground data (ESO telescopes), space data (Gaia and Tess missions) and by combining very diverse spectroscopic, astrometric, kinematic or asteroseismological information, an international team including two researchers from the Department of Astrophysics / AIM Laboratory of CEA-Saclay was able to determine the epoch, between 11.6 and 13.
Jan 08, 2020
The international CUPID-Mo experiment conducted by French laboratories of IN2P3, CEA/IRFU and CEA/IRAMIS has been testing the use of Molybdenum-based crystals since last April to detect double beta decay without neutrino emission. The experiment is gradually gaining strength and already shows a near-zero background in the region of interest, which is very promising. The scientists of the collaboration made an update in the occasion of the official inauguration on 11 and 12 December 2019.
Dec 21, 2019
The European Space Agency is shaping its science programme for the period 2035-2050
After the Horizon 2000 programme started in 1983, followed by its extension Horizon 2000 Plus, the European Space Agency (ESA) is committed until 2035 into the Cosmic Vision programme that includes the launches of Athena (2031) and LISA (2034). To plan its scientific priorities beyond this date, ESA has solicited the community through a call for ideas/projects.
Dec 20, 2019
A team from IRFU's Department of Particle Physics (DPhP) has just conducted the most accurate study to date of the mass of cosmic neutrinos, including both standard model neutrinos and sterile neutrinos contributing to dark matter. The researchers used the spectra of nearly 200,000 distant quasars measured by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) eBOSS project to map the distribution of hydrogen at very remote times in the history of our universe, ten to twelve billion years ago.
Dec 19, 2019
On December 4, 2019, mechanical reception of the RFQ provided by Irfu took place in the tunnel of the European Spallation Source (ESS) project in Lund, Sweden. Following the delivery of the RFQ on August 27, 2019, the installation immediately followed with the Irfu team present and guaranteeing its success over the following months.
Dec 04, 2019
The hot heart of the SN 1987A supernova
An international team, led by astronomers from Cardiff University, with the contribution of the Astrophysics Department of CEA-Irfu, may have spotted for the first time the compact remains of the last star explosion visible by eye that occurred on February 23, 1987 in a nearby galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud, only 160 000 light-years away.
Nov 26, 2019
Dense molecular filaments are the cradles of stars
An international team led by the Astrophysics Department-AIM Laboratory of CEA-Irfu has just obtained new clues about the origin of star mass distribution, combining observational data from the large interferometer ALMA and the APEX radio telescope operated by the European Austral Observatory (ESO) and the Herschel Space Observatory.
Nov 21, 2019
The missing mass of the universe or non-baryonic dark matter is probably made up of particles that remain to be discovered. Massive and neutral, with very weak interactions, they still escape a detection that would identify them. While conventional photons are massless, dark matter could be made up of particles of a new type, similar to massive photons.
Nov 20, 2019
Microscope satellite consolidates the Einstein Equivalence Principle
Testing the equivalence principle, a fundamental principle of the general relativity developed by Albert Einstein from which the universality of free fall derives, that is the challenge undertaken by the Microscope spacecraft.
Nov 20, 2019
After a decade-long search, scientists have for the first time detected a gamma-ray burst in very-high-energy gamma light. This discovery was made in July 2018 by the H.E.S.S. collaboration using the  huge 28-m telescope of the H.E.S.S. array in Namibia. Surprisingly, this Gamma-ray burst, an extremely energetic flash following a cosmological cataclysm, was found to emit very-high-energy gamma-rays long after the initial explosion. This discovery was published in Nature.    
Nov 19, 2019
After winding, the seventh and last coil of FRESCA2 left Saclay in June 2019 in its reaction mould, putting an end to Irfu's activity on this project, which began in 2009 in collaboration with CERN. This type 3-4 coil is a spare coil, which, after reaction, instrumentation and impregnation at CERN, will join its type 1-2 sister on CERN shelves.   In a first step, the FRESCA2 dipole, a 100 mm Nb3Sn dipole magnet tested at CERN, had reached a field of 13.3 T (see highlight of 20/09/2017).
Nov 12, 2019
For the first time, a team of researchers was able to measure and accurately identify daughter nuclei produced by the fission of uranium-239 fission. This was made possible by the unique combination of GANIL equipment and beams. It is published in the Physical Review Letter*.
Oct 30, 2019
The FIFRELIN code simulates nuclear fission and de-excitation of the nuclei produced therein. STEREO is a compact neutrino detector that looks for a hypothetical sterile neutrino. Two a priori separate topics developed at CEA, the first at DEN, the second at DRF/Irfu, which have however recently met to achieve unprecedented precision on a crucial ingredient in the detection of neutrinos: the de-excitation of a gadolinium nucleus after the capture of a neutron.
Oct 28, 2019
‘First light’ for the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI): as the installation phase nears completion, this new instrument is due to undergo final tests before starting to create a giant map of the sky in early 2020, a mission that is scheduled to run for five years.


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