New CRC 1660: Hadrons and Nuclei as Discovery Tools

Collaborative Research Centre at JGU's Institute for Nuclear Physics seeks new physical phenomena through a better understanding of strong interaction processes

31 May 2024

The German Research Foundation (DFG) today approved the establishment of a new Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). The CRC 1660 "Hadrons and Nuclei as Discovery Tools" aims to understand the strong interaction that leads to processes involving hadrons, nuclei, and atoms. The goal is to answer fundamental questions: What physical phenomena occur beyond the Standard Model of particle physics (SM) and how can we measure and describe them? The spokespersons of the new Collaborative Research Centre are Professor Concettina Sfienti (experiment) and Professor Marc Vanderhaeghen (theory) from the Institute for Nuclear Physics at JGU.

The CRC 1660 is divided into three research pillars: In the first pillar, experiments at low energies and high intensities are used to search for new particles (e.g. dark matter particles) and interactions beyond the SM and the results are interpreted using lattice QCD. The second pillar investigates the interface between hadron and nuclear physics through spectrometry experiments, electron and photon scattering experiments and high-precision calculations that will improve the interpretation of neutrino experiments and the description of muonic atoms. The third pillar focuses on the exploration of nuclear astrophysics and multi-messenger astronomy with a new generation of high-precision experiments in low-energy nuclear physics combined with state-of-the-art theoretical calculations using effective field theories.

In addition to the use of first-class infrastructure, the strengths of the CRC 1660 are the close cooperation between experimental and theoretical research and the intensive promotion and support of young scientists. Research is carried out at state-of-the-art facilities such as the MAMI and MESA accelerators on the JGU campus, supported by external infrastructures from international partner institutions such as the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) or the Beijing Spectrometer III (BES III).

Research at the particle accelerator MESA

MESA (Mainz Energy-recovering Superconducting Accelerator) is a unique facility that offers a multitude of new possibilities for basic research in physics. It works according to the innovative concept of energy recovery: After interacting with a gaseous target, the electron beam passes through the superconducting cavities again, returning its kinetic energy to the magnetic field. In this so-called "Energy Recovery Linac" mode, the MAGIX experiment can be carried out with a reasonable amount of energy. In addition, the beam can be recirculated a third time, resulting in the "extracted beam" operating mode, which is used for the P2 experiment. The MESA facility with the accelerator and the integrated experiments extends over several underground buildings, including the new experimental hall of the Center for Fundamental Physics. Its construction was made possible as part of the PRISMA+ Cluster of Excellence.