Jun 25, 2023
On 23 June 2023, GANIL (Grand Accélérateur National d'Ions Lourds), one of the world's leading laboratories for research using ion beams, obtained building permission for the future DESIR experimental room, part-funded by an Equipex. The permit authorises the launch of construction work, starting with deep earthworks in July 2023, with the aim of taking delivery of the building in spring 2025.
Jun 22, 2023
Large ground-based telescopes with mirrors over 8 m in diameter1 use azimuthal mounts to point the stars. When tracking a star, the Earth's rotation causes the observed field on the astrophysics detector to rotate, creating "spun" images. To correct this effect, the instruments mounted on these telescopes use a "field derotator", a mechanism whose main function is to rotate a set of mirrors at very low speed and with very high precision.
Jun 20, 2023
Using the James Webb Space Telescope, a group of astronomers led by MPIA, in collaboration with a team from the Astrophysics Department of CEA Paris-Saclay, searched for an atmosphere on the rocky exoplanet TRAPPIST-1 c. Although the planet is almost identical to Venus in terms of size and mass, its atmosphere turned out to be very different. By analyzing the heat emitted by the planet, they concluded that it may have only a tenuous atmosphere containing a minimum of carbon dioxide.
Jun 02, 2023
The commissioning of the 11.7 T Iseult MRI in 2021 crowned almost 20 years of AOC research and development. In an article published in the journal Magnetic Resonance Materials in Physics, Biology and Medicine, Nicolas Boulant and Lionel Quettier, Iseult project leaders for the CEA's Joliot and Irfu Institutes, review the details of this commissioning.
May 30, 2023
The final piece of a longstanding adventure started in 2014 with an experiment led by Irfu and RIKEN Nishina Center has been set with the publication of a paper containing the comparative study of dineutron correlation in 11Li, 14Be and 17B [1]. This paper published in Phys. Lett. B completes a series of publications on the topic [2,3] issued from the same experiment using the MINOS device designed and built at Irfu. It suggests that such kind of correlations is a universal feature of Borromean halo nuclei.
May 10, 2023
Discovered in 2009, exoplanet GJ1214b orbits a small star just 40 light-years away. With a mass around six times that of Earth and an atmosphere made up of hydrogen and helium, it is considered a "mini-Neptune". A team from NASA, in collaboration with researchers from CEA Paris-Saclay, pointed the JWST at the planet using the MIRI instrument, built by CEA Paris-Saclay, for some 40 hours.
Apr 25, 2023
Low-temperature superconducting materials are widely used in high-field magnets, but their behaviour is closely related to the strains they undergo. Consequently, studies on the impact of stress on mechanical structures are essential. The SUPRAMITEX project is participating in this research effort by using the AMITEX-FFTP parallel code developed as part of the SIMU/MATIX project to carry out non-linear mechanical simulations on heterogeneous microstructures.
Apr 03, 2023
The recent update of the European Strategy for Particle Physics recommended a feasibility study for the future generation of collider. In this context, the Laboratory Directors Group, of which IRFU is a member, has been mandated by the CERN Council to oversee the development of an accelerator R&D roadmap. One of the objectives of this roadmap is the development of technologies for the manufacture of high-field superconducting magnets, essential for future colliders: this is the HFM (High Field Magnets) project.
Mar 30, 2023
The European Research Council has just announced the names of the winners of the Advanced Grant. This 2023 edition rewards in particular two researchers from the CEA's fundamental research department for their work in the fields of astrophysics and neuroscience. Anaëlle Maury is the leader of the PEBBLES project. This project consists of developing an innovative methodology to characterise the properties of dust around very young stars in the process of forming their proto-planetary disks.
Mar 27, 2023
An international team of researchers has used NASA's James Webb Space Telescope to measure the temperature of the rocky exoplanet TRAPPIST-1 b. This is the world's first detection of thermal emission from a rocky exoplanet as small and “cool” as the rocky planets in our own solar system. TRAPPIST-1 b receives about twice the amount of energy as Venus receives from the Sun and four times more than Earth.
Mar 24, 2023
The ATLAS collaboration announced at the Moriond conference the observation of simultaneous production of four top quarks. This is one of the rarest and heaviest processes ever observed at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). This measurement, coordinated by IRFU, allows to test the Standard Model of particle physics in its most complex predictions. Link to the ATLAS collaboration publication
Mar 17, 2023
Magnetars are neutron stars known for their wide variety of electromagnetic emissions coming from the dissipation of their extreme magnetic fields, which are the strongest known in the Universe and can reach 1015 Gauss, or 10 billion times that of the strongest magnet created by humans.
Mar 10, 2023
The MADMAX project, which was launched in November 2016, is led by the Max Planck Institut für Physik in collaboration with several European institutes. The goal of the project is the discovery of axions with a mass of about 100 µeV, potential candidates for dark matter. To detect these axions, it is necessary to develop a specific detector consisting of an electromagnetic signal amplifier and a magnet proportional to the size of the amplifier and delivering a strong magnetic field.
Feb 28, 2023
CEA has delivered the flight version of the ECLAIRs onboard software to CNES after 6 years of development.
CEA has delivered to CNES the flight version of the ECLAIRs instrument software for the SVOM satellite. This concludes a major instrumental development phase conducted by CEA over a period of 6 years to produce what is maybe one of the most complex software packages ever carried on a French scientific space instrument. The latest version of the software equips the ECLAIRs onboard computer, which departed to China in early 2023.
Jan 23, 2023
Reactor antineutrino anomalies are a decade-long puzzle in neutrino physics. They are manifested by deviations of the order of a few percent between measurements and predictions. These deviations have been observed in the number of antineutrinos measured by more than a dozen experiments at nuclear reactors, and in the shape of the kinetic energy distributions by the seven most recent ones.
Jan 16, 2023
After several years of development at Saclay, the first part of the Falstaff spectrometer was moved to GANIL in 2021 and then installed on NFS for the study of uranium 235. The experiment that took place in November and December 2022 was the first to use an actinide target on SPIRAL2. It demonstrated the good performance of this device.
Jan 12, 2023
The final results of the Stereo experiment have just been published in the journal Nature. A record of precision is established for the spectrum of neutrinos emitted by the fission of 235U, measured between 9 and 11m distance from the ILL reactor core in Grenoble. The hypothesis of a sterile neutrino to explain the reactor neutrino anomaly is rejected. The quality of these direct neutrino measurements now surpasses that of the underlying nuclear data describing the beta decays of fission products.
Dec 14, 2022
A team from the Département d'Astrophysique, in collaboration with the start-up Iris.AI, has shown that one could find, in select biology studies, some relevant information to better understand the interstellar medium. These results will soon appear in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Methodologies and Issues in Science.
Dec 13, 2022
Nucleons (protons or neutrons) are the constituents of the nucleus of atoms. The exploration of their internal structure is traditionally done by determining "form factors". These quantities are accessible through the study of elastic electron-proton scattering and electron-positron annihilation reactions into proton-antiproton (or the time reverse reaction of proton-antiproton annihilation into electron-positron).
Nov 28, 2022
The European Research Council has just announced the names of the winners of the Starting Grant. This 2022 edition rewards three CEA researchers for their work in the fields of neuroscience, particle physics and physics of matter. Anastasiia Zolotarova is the leader of the TINY (Two Isotopes for Neutrinoless double beta decaY search) project at IRFU.
Nov 22, 2022
After three years of interruption during LS2 (Long Shutdown 2), ALICE was on time for the first collisions after a very important rejuvenation started in 2012 of its electronics, readout and acquisition systems as well as the addition of new detectors. IRFU has long been heavily involved in the ALICE muon forward spectrometer, in particular the MCH (Muon Chambers) tracking chambers, and now also in the new MFT (Muon Forward Tracker) silicon pixel tracker.
Nov 07, 2022
A new window into the deformation of nuclei has been recently opened with the realisation that nuclear collision experiments performed at high-energy colliders, such as the BNL Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) or the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC), give access to the shape of the colliding isotopes.
Oct 25, 2022
The four principal investigators receive almost 10 million euros for their project 4D-STAR, which will develop and deliver innovative numerical models of rotating magnetic stars in three spatial dimensions throughout their evolution.
Oct 25, 2022
For the first time since the XMM launch (1999), a cosmological analysis constraining the density of matter in the universe, from a catalog of 178 galaxy clusters detected by XMM, has been possible and in an autonomous way, i.e. with its own distance measurements and without calling upon additional information from numerical simulations or other cluster samples.
Oct 13, 2022
The pygmy dipole resonance (PDR) is a vibrational mode of the nucleus that occurs in neutron-rich nuclei. It is described as the oscillation of a neutron skin against a core symmetric in number of protons and neutrons (Figure 1). The PDR has been the subject of numerous studies, both experimental and theoretical.
Oct 12, 2022
For the 16th edition of the Young Talent France prize, the L'Oréal Foundation has rewarded 35 brilliant young women researchers selected in France from 660 eligible nomination by a jury of excellence composed of 28 researchers from the Science Academy. At the Irfu Astrophysics Department, Elsa Ducrot received this award for physics.  In September 2017 Elsa started a thesis at the University of Liege on the search for potentially habitable planets orbiting ultra-cool stars.
Oct 03, 2022
The LINAC SPIRAL2 successfully produced its first oxygen beam on September 16. After protons at the end of 2019 and deuterons in 2021, the GANIL linear accelerator is taking its first steps in accelerating heavy ions produced by the PHOENIX_V3 source. An essential development for the scientific program to come with the S3 spectrometer currently being installed.
Sep 27, 2022
The most intense magnetic fields of the universe in the context of LISA.
The LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna) space mission by ESA and NASA, will observe gravitational waves from space. After its launch around 2035, LISA will observe in the low frequency band of the gravitational waves spectra and will capture the signal coming from sources which are not detected yet in the high frequency band of ground-based detectors such like Virgo, LIGO, KAGRA, or GEO600.
Sep 22, 2022
The first measurement of Short-Range Correlations (SRC) in an exotic nucleus took place in May 2022 with the Cocotier instrument at the GSI facility in Darmstadt, Germany. This experiment is a milestone in the program that was started in 2017 with a grant from the French Research Agency that allowed physicists to build a liquid hydrogen target (see previous highlight). The goal of this experiment is to test the hypothesis that nucleon can form compact pair, the so-called SRC pair.
Sep 15, 2022
As part of the Solar Orbiter science support activities and in conjunction with the ERC Synergy WholeSun grant, researchers from CEA Paris-Saclay, together with an international collaboration, have developed advanced numerical simulations to study the formation of structures of the solar wind. These simulations allow studying the interaction of the convection at the solar surface with the magnetic field. They reveal the appearance of twisted magnetic structures that can participate in the creation of switchbacks.


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