Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics

Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics

Staff

A. Caciolli, C. Fontana, A. Goasduff, S.M. Lenzi, M. Lunardon, P. Marigo, M. Mazzocco, D. Mengoni, G. Montagnoli, S. Moretto, F. Recchia, A. Rossi, F. Scarlassara, F. Soramel, L. Stevanato

Postdocs/PhD

G. Colucci, R. Depalo, G. Pasqualato, D. Piatti, F. Pino, C. Terrevoli, D. Testov

INFN

F. Antinori, D. Bazzacco, M. Bellato, C. Broggini, A. Dainese, D. Fabris, R. Menegazzo, G. Nebbia, R. Turrisi

Research Activity

Nuclear Physics studies the properties of the atomic nucleus and its constituents, protons and neutrons.

From the discovery of the nucleus and its structure, the evolution of the scientific subject has led to the nucleus being studied as a complex system governed by the strong interaction. The goal is to understand the properties of the matter that permeates our Universe. This can be achieved by analysing possible ways of merging or fragmenting nuclei during nuclear collisions and/or forming exotic radioactive elements.

Phenomena observed in nuclei also involve other kinds of particles distinct from nucleons, such as neutrinos and electrons, the properties of which are linked to the weak interaction and leads to the verification of many fundamental laws. The study of the reactions, leading to the formation of both heavier and lighter nuclei, tells us how the elements and the stars evolve. Additionally, by bringing nuclear matter to extreme densities, how the Universe appeared shortly after the "Big Bang" can be investigated.
There is, therefore, a deep bond between nuclear properties, particle physics and cosmology, making nuclear physics an "interdisciplinary" field with multiple opportunities for discovery.

At the same time, there is a huge impact in the field of applications, which goes far beyond the common ones, such as armaments and fission reactors: just think about radiotherapy treatments, analysis of biological tissues, materials analysis and environmental applications. All these applications benefit from expanding our understanding of nuclear properties and the technological progress associated with increasingly sophisticated experiments, that require a constant evolution of the instrumentation and the management of bigger and bigger amounts of data.

The main research lines of our group, therefore, span a broad range of interests: the structure of the nuclei far from stability, at extreme values of spin, isospin (neutron-to-proton ratios) and excitation energy. We also use gamma rays as probes of the fundamental properties of atomic nuclei; examining reaction mechanisms between stable and radioactive nuclei; scrutinising the dynamics of low and intermediate energy reactions; elucidating the phase transition from ordinary (hadronic) to deconfined matter (QGP, quark-gluon plasma); making astrophysical measurements and studying nucleosynthesis processes at extremely-low energy in underground laboratories; developing applications of nuclear physics for civil uses, such as environmental controls, detection of fissile materials, reclamation of surface mined areas, just to name a few.

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