Experiments

ATLAS investigates a broad range of physics, including the search for the Higgs boson, extra dimensions, and new particles that could make up dark matter.

It will be an advanced facility for ground based very- high-energy gamma ray astronomy, based on the observation of Cerenkov radiation.

The main goal of the project is to survey 5000 sq. deg. of the southern galactic sky, measuring positions on the sky, shapes and redshifts of about 300 million galaxies and 15000 galaxy clusters.

Euclid is a mission for the European Space Agency (ESA) Cosmic Vision (CV) 2015-25 programme to probe the expansion history of the Universe by carrying out a wide survey of galaxies in 15,000 sq. deg. of the sky. It will be launched in the first quarter of 2020 and the mission will last 6 years.

It is a new generation two-telescope system located at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory at the La Palma Canary Island.

Solid state pixel detector are used in many detectors in the field of High Energy Physics and the aim of our research line is mold this existing technology into a useful form to service the interest of the public.

The contributions of the IFAE group to the T2K experiment focus on the near detector, specifically in the construction of the time projection chamber and the refurbishing of the old magnet .Other activities are related to the development of instrumentation for radiation detection.

PAU is a project with the objective of constructing a large CCD camera for the WHT in La Palma, equipped with many narrow band filters as to be able to provide accurate photometric redshifts for a high density galaxy sample. In a second phase the PAUCam Team will conduct a large survey with this instrument/telescope to study the accelerated expansion of the universe.

Virgo is a giant laser interferometer designed to detect gravitational waves. It is operated in Cascina, near Pisa on the site of the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO), by an international collaboration of scientists.

Theory

 





VIRGO

The detection of Gravitational Waves (GWs) from a black hole (BH) binary merger by LIGO in 2015 is a milestone that represents the beginning of a new era in the exploration of the universe. Shortly after the addition of the VIRGO antenna into the network lead to the detection of the neutron star (NS) binary merger that could be followed in electromagnetic signals, and thus represents the beginning of multi-messenger astronomy. These events have radically changed the stage for several areas of physics, from astrophysics to particle physics.

IFAE is a member institution inside the VIRGO collaboration and this opens a new long-term research line in IFAE related to GWs detection using terrestrial interferometry. A group of researches from IFAE takes significant responsibilities in the VIRGO experiment related to the control of the stray light inside the experiment, which is considered a limiting factor for its sensitivity. The group plans for playing an important role in the ongoing commissioning, operations and upgrade of the interferometer. For the latter, IFAE proposed the construction of new baffles instrumented with photo sensors around the test masses in the suspended areas.

The implementation of active baffles with photo sensors, determining online the distribution of light close to the mirrors would allow for: a much more efficient alignment and fine-tune of the parameters of the interferometer during the commissioning phase after each shutdown period; feeding back the observed light distributions into the simulations and the description of the mirror surface; and the suppression of developing high modes in the interferometer, beyond its fundamental mode, leading to recognizable patterns in the light distribution in the baffles.

In the physics analysis front, the IFAE team is developing a complete research program using LIGO/VIRGO data, which includes topics related to:

  • BH-BH and NS-NS coalescence and their mass/spin spectrum determination.
  • Search for primordial BHs as candidates for dark matter.
  • Searches for axion-like signals in GWs.
  • Test of exotic models for Gravity beyond General Relativity.
  • Determination of the universe expansion rate using GWs.
  • GWs as probes for inflation and phase transitions in the early universe.

Both LIGO and VIRGO are planning for new observation periods in 2019, 2021 and 2024, with gradually increasing sensitivities, thus promising to bring new breakthroughs in the understanding of the universe. IFAE will be in a privileged position to analyze the LIGO/VIRGO data and, in collaboration with IFAE's teams in CTA/MAGIC and Observational Cosmology, to fully profit from a multi-messenger approach.

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