Fisica Nucleare e Sub-Nucleare

Research Fisica Nucleare e Sub-Nucleare

Nuclear and hadronic physics at the LHC

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN is the largest and most powerful particle accelerator in the world. It consists of a 27-kilometer ring of superconducting magnets and accelerating structures that boost extremely high-intensity proton and heavy-ion beams to unprecedented energies.

The research group of Salerno is involved in both hardware and software activities in ALICE, which is one of the 4 large experiments at the LHC dedicated to the study of ultrarelativistic nucleus-nucleus collisions. The extreme conditions of temperature and energy density reached in these collisions induce a phase transition from ordinary nuclear matter to a deconfined phase of quarks and gluons, called quark-gluon plasma, which is believed to be the phase of our Universe a few microseconds after the Big Bang.

The ALICE group of Salerno has significantly contributed to the design, construction, and operation of the Time-Of-Flight (TOF) detector, which is one of the key detector subsystems of ALICE used for particle identification, and to the silicon pixel detectors of the Inner Tracking System (ITS), used for high-precision tracking and reconstruction of the collision vertex. Today, the group is strongly involved in the data acquisition, quality control, and physics analysis of the ALICE data. The main research areas are the study of the fundamental production mechanism of hadrons with light and heavy quarks, the formation of (exotic) bound states, the hadronic interaction between hyperons and nucleons, and between matter and antimatter.

Members of the research group:

Testing superconducting magnets

The superconductivity laboratory of INFN, located inside the campus of the University of Salerno, is a highly-specialized laboratory equipped with a cryogenic testing infrastructure (THOR) capable of reaching temperatures of -269 °C. This facility is currently used for cryogenic tests of a series of complex superconducting magnetic systems, called quadrupoles, that will be installed at the FAIR accelerator’s SIS100 machine in Darmstadt (Germany). This project is part of a scientific cooperation program between INFN and GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schweronenforschung signed in 2019.

Responsible: Dr. U. Gambardella, E-Mail:

Physics of the strong interaction at the future electron-ion collider

The electron-ion collider (EIC) will be a next-generation particle accelerator at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton (New York, US), which is expected to start its operation in 2030. It will consist of two intersecting accelerators, one producing an intense beam of electrons, the other a beam of protons or heavier atomic nuclei which are steered into head-on collisions. The goal is to investigate the internal structure of nucleons and the strong nuclear force that binds protons and neutrons inside atomic nuclei. EPIC will be the first experimental apparatus of the electron-ion collider.

The group of Salerno is involved in simulations of the detector performance, R&D, testing, and characterization activities of Silicon Photomultipliers that will be part of the dual-radiator RICH sub-detector system. This apparatus will be used for particle identification via the measurement of the Cherenkov radiation.

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Extreme Energy Events (EEE)

The Extreme Energy Events (EEE) Project is devoted to the study of cosmic rays, through a network of 61 telescopes based on the Multi-Gap Resistive Plate Chambers (MRPC), distributed throughout the national territory inside high schools and research institutes, involving students and teachers in all phases of the experiment.

The EEE array allows to search for time coincidence between stations at distances up to a few km making possible the study of Extensive Air Showers and related phenomena.

The Salerno group is actively involved in all EEE activities: construction, test and maintenance of the telescopes, data taking, data analysis, educational activities and the current R&D on new gas mixtures environmentally sustainable with lower Global Warming Power (GWP) in order to perform an ecological transition

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Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Nuclear magnetic resonance, using non-invasive and non-destructive techniques, has a very broad field of applications ranging from physics to chemistry, from medicine to material science and chemical engineering, and cultural heritage. In particular, in the field of food chemistry, there has been an increasingly frequent use of NMR techniques both in quality control and in industrial processes, resulting in a highly interesting research area.

The Salerno group is involved in the analysis of liquid samples using a modern NMR spectrometer, installed in the NEMES laboratory.

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