3.8M€ Awarded for R&D into Antimatter Physics

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The QUASAR Group will be leading a 3.8-million-euro European Consortium to develop the use of accelerators for antimatter physics experiments. The project, dubbed AVA – Accelerators Validating Antimatter physics, addresses the challenges in antimatter facility design and optimization, beyond state of the art beam diagnostics, and novel antimatter experiments.

This new European research and training network brings together universities, research centres and companies to carry out an interdisciplinary and cross-sector research and training program for a cohort of 15 Fellows. It targets new scientific and technical developments and aims at boosting the career prospects of all trainees.

AVA involves no less than 24 institutions from across Europe. All members of the consortium have long standing expertise in antimatter R&D and an excellent track record in carrying out world-class research. Their collaboration is expected to stimulate the search for the most advanced methods whilst ensuring knowledge transfer across discipline boundaries.

Antihydrogen production region in the AEgIS experiment. Image courtesy of Michael Doser, CERN.

The project will be coordinated by QUASAR Group leader Prof Carsten P. Welsch. Prof Welsch and the Group’s dedicated EU TEAM have a proven track record in the coordination of large scale European networks through the successful completion of DITANET, oPAC and LA3NET projects. AVA will directly build up on experience and expertise gained within these earlier initiatives and train the next generation of researchers.

Prof Welsch said: "Antimatter experiments are at the cutting edge of science. They are, however, very difficult to realize and have been limited by the performance of the only existing facility in the world, the Antiproton Decelerator at CERN. This year the new Extra Low Energy Antiproton ring (ELENA) is being commissioned at CERN and will be a critical upgrade to this unique facility. This will significantly enhance the beam quality and enable new experiments. In addition, there are exciting long-term prospects through opportunities a future low energy antimatter facility could provide as part of the FAIR research centre in Germany. AVA will give us a fantastic opportunity to train a significant number of Fellows in an exciting field of science."

The goal of AVAis to optimize the existing and future facilities and enable a vibrant research programme with low energy antiprotons. This will only be possible through innovative training where the next generation of researchers will gain the required competencies through research that is at the cutting edge of science. In addition to challenging research projects, AVA will also offer a large number of international training events, including schools, workshops and conferences which will be open to all Fellows and the wider scientific community.

The Project is currently recruiting for its 15 Fellowship positions. Researchers from around the world are invited to submit their applications by 31 January 2017.

Further information on these vacancies is available on the project website http://www.ava-project.eu

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 721559.