Grasping the core of the atom
The atomic nucleus is a system made of protons and neutrons (nucleons) that interact through intricate nuclear forces. The number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus defines the different chemical elements and their respective isotopes that are found in nature. These ions attract electrons to form atoms and these atoms are combined to build molecules that are the building blocks of chemical and biological complex structures.
Nuclear Physics connects the smallest (Particle Physics) and largest (Astrophysics) scales in nature. Thus, the atomic nucleus is the perfect laboratory to study the properties of elementary particles and their interactions. In addition, the origin and abundance of the different isotopes are determined by the nuclear reactions that occur in different stages of the life of the stars and define their fate.
Our research at CIAFF focuses on:
Theoretical Nuclear Structure
We aim at understanding the structure of the nuclei with microscopic theories based on self-consistent mean-field and beyond-mean-field approximations combined with sophisticated nuclear interactions. These theoretical tools are used to compute nuclear properties such as binding energies, radii, excitation energies, decay modes, fission, etc., that can be compared with experimental data.
Neutrinoless Double-Beta Decay
This (not yet) observed process, in which a nucleus decays into another nucleus with two more protons and two less neutrons with the emission of two electrons but no neutrinos, has many implications for the nature neutrinos, physics beyond the Standard Model, and cosmology.