Nuclear Physics

Sezione Fisica Nucleare

Coordinatore Prof. Paolo RUSSO


The Nuclear Physics Section not only conducts research in the fields of experimental and theoretical nuclear physics; the section is also active in the field of applied nuclear physics for biology, medicine and materials analysis of cultural and environmental objects.

The nuclear physics experimental program includes the study of atomic nuclei in extreme conditions - high excitation energies or angular momenta and the relationship between N/Z and mass.

Another experimental focus of the section is the measurement of cross sections of nuclear reactions of interest for astrophysics. Nuclear theory concentrates on the description of low-energy nuclear structure.

The applied nuclear physics group specialises on experimental research in archeometry (development of instrumentation for x-ray fluorescence analysis of cultural artifacts), the investigation of the biophysical effects of ionizing radiation, the study of natural and artificial radiation and research on dosimetry for space missions.

Other members of the section work on the development of new technologies for imaging diagnostics and radiotherapy.

Further activity includes fundamental physics research on charged and neutral antimatter, applied physics in geology and medicine and R&D of detection techniques for the field.

The different research groups of the section participate in the leading projects of their respective fields.

Regarding experimental nuclear physics activities, the groups participate in several of the major activities of the INFN CSN3.
Nuclear astrophysics deals with studying nuclear processes of astrophysical interest. Such processes are usually extremely rare, due to the very low cross sections at astrophysical energies. For this reason, their measurement in the laboratory cannot ignore effective background suppression, to optimize the signal/noise ratio. The Naples group participates in numerous activities, which use different approaches for the direct study of reactions of astrophysical interest, such as the LUNA experiment (Laboratory for Underground Nuclear Astrophysicals), which exploits the cosmic silence guaranteed by the rooms of the underground laboratory of Gran Sasso; the ERNA experiment (European Recoil separator for Nuclear Astrophysics), which exploits a complicated combination of electrostatic instruments and magnetic fields to reveal the products of the reactions; and the NUCL-EX experiment, which studies nuclear structure and dynamics with particular attention to the alpha clustering.
Alongside these activities there is also that linked to the FORTE experiment, related to the study of the structure and reaction mechanisms of the exotic nuclei of the 'terra incognita' of the nuclide map. These studies represent one of the frontiers of nuclear physics in the coming years, at an international level.

Furthermore the group is in charge of the dosimetry for new breast cancer phase contrast imaging technology using synchrotron radiation and single-photon detectors as part of an extensive national project of the Group 5 of the INFN.
As partner of the European Union COST action program SYRA3 the group is working with other European groups on applied synchrotron radiation research. The radiation biophysics group is the national responsible for the only project entirely focused on radiobiology ETHICS (3-year project, 32 FTE, 180000 Euro for 2016-2017) and is the radiobiology coordinator of the experiment L3IA, another INFN Group 5 project.
The radioactivity group performs measurements aimed at the generation of maps of the natural and artificial radiation, also developing novel detection techniques.
The study of ways to minimize the radiation exposure of astronauts in their future missions is another interest of this group.
Last but not least the archeometry group (which is supported by the INFN in the national cultural heritage framework CHnet) will in the next three years be included into the structure of H20H20 IPERYON-CH, part of the European network E-RIHS (European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science).
This infrastructure will as soon as possible be included in the ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures) roadmap 2016-2020.

Our combined activities guarantee a top-level scientific output of high intensity, with over 120 peer reviewed publication in the last three years.

Detailed research activities of Nuclear Physics.

The section provides full coverage of basic and advanced classes on nuclear and biomedical physics.