The DPhN is leading a scientific program to reveal and analyze the quark-gluon plasma, the state of matter that would have existed in the first microseconds following the big bang and which is recreated in heavy ion collisions. The SPhN is actively involved in the scientific adventure of the LHC in the ALICE experiment. In particular, studies are focused on J/Psi resonances production and in the Di-muon arm operation.
Hadronic physics is covered at DPhN through high level projects studying the structure of the nucleon, namely at CERN/COMPASS and at Jefferson Lab. Among the issues addressed by the collaborations, DPhN has a leadership position in the study of the nucleon spin structure and in determining the Generalized Parton Distributions (GPD) which characterize the quarks correlations inside the nucleon allowing a 3-dimensional description. Instrumental developments are actively carried out by the SPhN physicists in the two facilities quoted above, based essentially on Micromegas detectors whether pixelated (for COMPASS) or cylindrical ( for Jefferson Lab Hall B CLAS12 Tracker). These experimental studies are combined with the implementation of a phenomenological GPD analysis platform and with Lattice QCD calculations.
The nuclear structure group is focused on the exploration of nuclei at the boundaries of nuclear existence; exotic nuclei, heavy/superheavy nuclei, nuclei with large deformations are studied in all the available heavy ion accelerators. Moreover, DPhN is deeply involved in various experimental developments as the Super Separator Spectrometer (S3) at SPIRAL2, the gamma AGATA detector and the MINOS detector using the Micromegas technology. Backing up the experimental activities, the division develops new theoretical concepts - like the ab-initio approaches – to achieve a deeper and more fundamental understanding of the nuclei in all its forms.
The DPhN carries out fundamental research on nuclear reactions, more specifically on fission, spallation, capture reactions and on the properties of beta decaying particles as reactor neutrinos. Besides the fundamental issues, these studies supply many fields/applications like nucleosynthesis (measured at n-TOF), safety and non-proliferation (Nucifer), medical (spallation model), and energy related nuclear data (SPIRAL2-NFS, ILL, n_ToF, spallation and fission models).
Finally, the activities of the laboratory of nuclear expertise in nuclear design and decommissioning contribute substantially to the expertise Irfu deploys for societal issues in areas such as the decommissioning of existing facilities (accelerators, reactors, etc.) and the design of new facilities (accelerators, experimental rooms, high-power lasers, hospitals, etc…). Irfu and DSM benefit from these studies as well as other CEA Departments and outside partners (CNRS, Institut Curie, ENSTA ...).