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FP7

LIBRA Informe resumido

Project ID: 230123
Financiado con arreglo a: FP7-REGPOT
País: Greece

Final Report Summary - LIBRA (Center of Excellence in Low-Energy Ion-Beam Research and Applications)



Executive Summary:

The LIBRA project, i.e., the “Center of Excellence for Low-energy Ion-Beam Research and Applications” aimed at unlocking and strengthening the research potential of the TANDEM Accelerator Laboratory (TAL) of the Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics (INPP) of the National Centre for Scientific Research “Demokritos”, Athens, Greece. The proposal submitted by TAL within the FP7/REGPOT/2008-1 call. It scored 14.5/15 and, as such, it positioned at rank eight (8) among 474 submitted proposals within the specific call. The budget granted by the EC amounts to 1403398 Euros.

The project was formally launched in January 1, 2009. It project evolved very smoothly, though it had to be extended twice (at first to July 31, 2012 and subsequently to December 31, 2012) primarily because of unforeseeable vendor responses that caused delays in tender procedures, which, however, could finally be terminated successfully. The action plan of LIBRA included:

1. Mobility of researchers (secondments) to strengthen the existing trans-national collaborations, establish new ones and facilitate exchange of know-how and expertise in forefront research areas and technological developments.
2. Recruitment of young highly qualified researchers and technical personnel to assist the existing group in maintaining its internationally recognized status of excellence.
3. Development and/or acquisition of advanced scientific tools, such as novel detectors and experimental setups, enabling an active participation of the TAL group in research activities at EU level.
4. Upgrade of certain accelerator components that in conjunction with the implementation of the acquired instruments into the existing infrastructure will decisively improve INPP’s response to the socio-economic needs of the country as well as of the whole Southeast European and Mediterranean region.
5. Acquisition of state-of-the art instrumentation to be installed at the TANDEM accelerator laboratory, to increase its research capabilities and enhance the level of excellence of the ion-beam based research currently conducted (or to be integrated in the near future) by the INPP group as well as by all “external” groups (national or European) with activities at the INPP accelerator.
6. Organization of scientific events to facilitate transfer of knowledge, launch new joint activities, promote the existing training capacity of INPP and that to be established within this project, and enhance the INPP’s international reputation.
7. Dissemination and promotional activities so as to increase the visibility of INPP worldwide, with major emphasis on the establishment of a regional and if possible an international group of users of the facilities to be developed within this project.

The LIBRA projects targets three different research directions:

a) The study of stellar nucleosynthesis, with special emphasis on the so-called p process.
b) The search for (dynamical) critical-point symmetries in nuclear structure, and
c) The development and implementation of novel nuclear techniques in cultural heritage studies, biomedicine research, and environmental monitoring.

The project’s action plan was realized within six (6) work packages as follows:

1. Management, co-ordination and assessment
2. Enhancement of human potential
3. Enhancement of research tools and infrastructure
4. Exchange of knowledge and expertise
5. Organization of international science events
6. Dissemination and promotional activities

LIBRA achieved 10 Milestones and produced 16 Deliverables. The total effort accumulated by the end of the project amounts to 315 man-months. The Group of researchers worked for LIBRA included 11 scientists, PhD holders, as well as 6 post-graduate students, PhD candidates. Dr. Sotirios V. Harissopulos, Director of Researcher at “Demokritos” was the coordinator, referring once every project year to an independent international Project Advisory Committee chaired by Prof. Muhsin Harakeh, (KVI, Univ. Groningen, Netherlands)

Among the major achievements of LIBRA is the establishment of a Users Group around the upgraded accelerator laboratory and the new facilities developed during the course of the project. By the end of the project, the LIBRA Users Group amounts more than 50 researchers from Greece and the region. It is worth noting that during the project, more than 4000 hours of beam time was “consumed” by members of the LIBRA Users Group. As of today, 14 Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) for the use of the LIBRA facilities have been signed between the Tandem Accelerator Laboratory of INPP and research groups from various national and European institutes.

LIBRA’s expected final results will be unique and sound and their impact in the local as well as the European scientific landscape will be quite large. Thanks to the state-of-the-art facilities and the critical mass created through LIBRA, the field of ion-beam research is now well established in Greece and is very positively received by the Greek funding agency (GSRT). It is worth mentioning that, based on the foresight study conducted during the course of the project a 24-million Euro proposal entitled “Cluster of Accelerator Laboratories for Ion-Beam Research and Applications – CALIBRA” endorsed by NCSR "Demokritos", 2 more national Research Centers, 5 Universities and 1 Technological Institute was submitted to GSRT for funding within the call for the National Roadmap for Large-Scale Research Infrastructures. A positive outcome is expected!

Project Context and Objectives:

The LIBRA project aims at unlocking and strengthening the research potential of the TANDEM Accelerator Laboratory (TAL) of the Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics (INPP) of the National Centre for Scientific Research “Demokritos”, Athens, Greece. The action plan of LIBRA includes:

8. Mobility of researchers to strengthen the existing trans-national collaborations, establish new ones and facilitate exchange of know-how and expertise in forefront research areas and technological developments. Within this action, trans-national two-way secondments between the INP and internationally recognized project partner institutions from abroad, with built-in obligatory return mechanisms for seconded INPP staff, are realized.
9. Recruitment of young highly qualified researchers and technical personnel to assist the existing group in maintaining its internationally recognized status of excellence.
10. Development and/or acquisition of advanced scientific tools, such as novel detectors and experimental setups, enabling an active participation of the TAL group in research activities at EU level.
11. Upgrade of certain accelerator components that in conjunction with the implementation of the acquired instruments into the existing infrastructure will decisively improve INPP’s response to the socio-economic needs of the country as well as of the whole Southeast European and Mediterranean region.
12. Acquisition of state-of-the art instrumentation to be installed at the TANDEM accelerator laboratory, to increase its research capabilities and enhance the level of excellence of the ion-beam based research currently conducted (or to be integrated in the near future) by the INPP group as well as by all “external” groups (national or European) with activities at the INPP accelerator.
13. Organization of scientific events to facilitate transfer of knowledge, launch new joint activities, promote the existing training capacity of INPP and that to be established within this project, and enhance the INPP’s international reputation.
14. Dissemination and promotional activities so as to increase the visibility of INPP worldwide, with major emphasis on the establishment of a regional and if possible an international group of users of the facilities to be developed within this project.

The LIBRA projects targets three different research directions, which correspond to the main research interests and the areas of excellence of the INPP Group. Hence, the topics addressed by LIBRA are related to:

d) The study of stellar nucleosynthesis, with special emphasis on the so-called p process.
e) The search for (dynamical) critical-point symmetries in nuclear structure, and
f) The development and implementation of novel nuclear techniques in cultural heritage studies, biomedicine research, and environmental monitoring.

Project Results:

The project was formally launched in January 1, 2009. During the first project period, i.e. January 2009 to June 2010, significant progress was made in almost all components of LIBRA’s action plan. In the period from July 1, 2010 to December 31, 2012, the LIBRA project evolved very smoothly, though it had to be extended twice (at first to July 31, 2012 and subsequently to December 31, 2012) primarily because of unforeseeable vendor responses that caused delays in tender procedures, which, however, could finally be terminated successfully. The work performed and the main S&T results achieved can be summarized as follows:

Secondments: INPP scientists have spent almost 12 man-months at project partnering institutes, whereas members from the latter organizations have spent approximately 9 man-months at “Demokritos”. In addition, members of the LIBRA PAC, i.e. the international Project Advisory Committee, have spent almost two man-months at “Demokritos”.

Recruitments: According to Annex I, two (2) experienced researchers, two (2) post-doctoral research fellows, one (1) scientist with Master’s degree for the needs of the operation, maintenance and upgrade of the existing Tandem accelerator, and one (1) Mechanics-Technician for the needs of the installation of the new instrumentation to be acquired within LIBRA were planned to be recruited by project month 9, i.e. September 2009. During the first project period, however, we could recruit only two (2) out of four (4) scientists and none technician. The primary reason for not hiring all foreseen scientific personnel by end of project-month 9 was to be attributed to the unwillingness of many young researchers from abroad, initially interested in LIBRA positions, to work in Greece because of the continuous worsening of the Greek economy during 2009-2011 (which, in fact, resulted in a unprecedented brain-drain!). In the case of the technical personnel, the corresponding posts were postponed to occupy by late 2010, because the tasks related to the installation of the major instruments to be purchased with LIBRA funds were shifted to approx. 9-12 months due to time-consuming tender procedures. Under these conditions, the open posts were finally announced in October 2010. Unfortunately, also this time, it was not possible to fill the two researcher positions; only the posts of the accelerator supervisor and the technician were filled. To compensate any side effects from missing manpower, the Steering Committee decided to maximize the man-month effort of the LIBRA Group. This was very successfully achieved, considering that the total staff effort put into LIBRA sums to at least 315 man-months, i.e. 20 man-months more than promised in the Annex I.

Development of scientific tools and infrastructure upgrades: During the course of the project, more than 200 man-months were spent for this purpose. As a result, the LIBRA team could accomplish all tasks related to WP3 “Enhancement of Research Tools and Infrastructure” with success. As major highlights hereby, one should mention:

• The acquisition through a complex tender procedure of a micro-beam system and its successful installation and commissioning at the Tandem accelerator. This scientific instrument enables now to employ on routine basis powerful techniques for the analysis of problems related to biomedicine, environmental research, material science, cultural heritage etc., by guiding a proton beam with a diameter of approximately 1 micro-meter on samples.
• The installation and commissioning of the low-energy high-current proton-deuteron accelerator PAPAP from the French partner institution CSNSM-Orsay to “Demokritos”. PAPAP, a generous donation of CSNSM, will enable us to perform time-demanding nuclear astrophysics measurements and, furthermore, introduce in our lab technologies relevant to the investigation of material surfaces at the nano-scale.
• The development and subsequent acquisition through a time-demanding tender procedure of a very large volume detector, i.e., a 14-inches long cylindrical NaI(Tl) scintillator with a diameter of 14 inches, to detect –with almost 100% efficiency– very high-energetic gamma rays emitted by capture reactions at energies of intense astrophysical interest. This detector will enable systematic measurements aiming at understanding the so-called p process responsible for the synthesis of a certain class of proton-rich nuclei that are the fingerprints of the creation mechanisms of our solar system.
• The successful completion of a large-number of upgrades of the Tandem accelerator components that allow now for a stable operation for long time-intervals, facilitating this way time-demanding experiments as well as the implementation of analytical measurements where increased accuracy is a must.
• Apart from the aforementioned achievements, it is worth mentioning the installation of many additional experimental setups comprising other powerful detectors, spectrometers and high-speed data accumulation and analysis electronic systems.

Details on the scientific tools developed and acquired as well as the infrastructure upgrades completed during the course of the project are given in the attachments.

Potential Impact:

LIBRA’s expected final results will be unique and sound and their impact in the local as well as the European scientific landscape will be quite large. Thanks to the state-of-the-art facilities and the critical mass created through LIBRA, the field of ion-beam research is now well established in Greece and is very positively received by the Greek funding agency (GSRT). It is worth mentioning that, based on the foresight study conducted during the course of the project (Deliverable D1.1) a 24-million Euro proposal entitled “Cluster of Accelerator Laboratories for Ion-Beam Research and Applications – CALIBRA” endorsed by NCSR "Demokritos", 2 more national Research Centers, 5 Universities and 1 Technological Institute was submitted to GSRT for funding within the call for the National Roadmap for Large-Scale Research Infrastructures.

Organization of scientific events: Following two scientific events were organized:

• The international workshop entitled “Thermonuclear Reaction Rates for Astrophysics Applications - THERRAA”. It was organized in Athens on 24-25 November 2011 by the INPP together with the LIBRA partner Institut d’Astronomie et d’Astrophysique (IAA) of the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. THERRAA was a 2-day workshop, attended by 49 researchers (including 7 LIBRA Group members) from 12 countries.
• The 3rd International Conference on “Frontiers in Nuclear Structure, Astrophysics, and Reactions – FINUSTAR3”. It was co-organized by the INPP and the Accelerator Laboratory of the Department of Physics of the University of Jyväskylä (JYFL), Finland, on the isle of Rhodes, Greece, on 23 to 27 August 2010. FINUSTAR-3 was a weeklong conference attended by 159 scientists from 29 countries.

Both scientific events contributed decisively to the international visibility of INPP acting as a communication hub between the INPP scientists, their collaborators and the whole international scientific community, since both events addressed topics of key relevance to LIBRA activities. The scope, participants, abstracts and other information can be found in the websites http://libra.inp.demokritos.gr/THERRAA/ and http://www.inp.demokritos.gr/~finustar3/, respectively.

Dissemination activities: During the LIBRA project, “Demokritos” scientists engaged in LIBRA have disseminated results from LIBRA activities or have presented the LIBRA project in more than 10 scientific meetings. Apart from these meetings presentations have been given at different institutes after having been invited to do so, with the primary aim to create an international group of LIBRA users. This group of users, established already during the project’s first period, has been extended further comprising more than 50 scientists by the end of the project. It is worth noting that during the project, more than 4000 hours of beam time was “consumed” by members of the LIBRA Users Group. As of today, 14 Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) for the use of the LIBRA facilities have been signed between the Tandem Accelerator Laboratory of INPP and research groups from various national and European institutes.

During the course of the project 29 open lectures were given to students by LIBRA scientists as well as by researchers from collaborating institutes. These lectures served not only as outreach activities but also provided the opportunity for an intense interaction between the LIBRA group and members of the LIBRA Users Group. In most of the cases, a guided tour to LIBRA facilities was organized after the lecture. On top of these, 55 tours were offered to 1514 high-school pupils and their teachers.

In our view, the most important dissemination event during the course of the project was the organization of the 69th Meeting of the Nuclear Physics European Collaboration Committee (NuPECC) at the premises of our Institute on October 8 and 9, 2010. NuPECC is an Expert Committee of the European Science Foundation (ESF). Its role in science policy in Europe is decisive in every aspect: from informal suggestions to the EC related to nuclear physics research to the preparation of forward looks and Long‐Range Plans for funding agencies. NuPECC’s decision to organize its 69th meeting at the premises of “Demokritos” was taken by its members unanimously in recognition of the prominent role of the INPP group within the European nuclear physics community achieved via the LIBRA project. The LIBRA scientists offered the NuPECC members a 2‐hour guided tour at the LIBRA facilities of the TANDEM Accelerator Laboratory disseminating this way the strengthening of the research potential of the group achieved through the REGPOT program.

List of Websites:

LIBRA Website: http://libra.inp.demokritos.gr


Información relacionada

Resultado resumido

Reported by

NATIONAL CENTER FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH "DEMOKRITOS"
Greece
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