Nuclear and Particle Physics
Cosmological evolution – Theory of particles and forces – Stellar astrophysics – Quantum Mechanics - Nuclear fission – Metrology
Our views about the building blocks of Nature – fundamental particles and forces – have evolved dramatically over the past decades. We now have models that attempt to unify the forces and particles, and describe how they came into existence in the very early Universe. To test these models, particle physicists have designed experiments over a wide range of energies.
In the sub-eV range, the cold or ultra-cold neutrons produced at the ILL can tell us a great deal about the 'symmetry' characteristics of particles and their interactions – perhaps helping to explain, for example, how the Universe came to contain mainly matter and not antimatter, even though created in equal amounts. Neutrons at the ILL are also used to investigate the structure and behaviour of nuclei by generating excited nuclear states. Although atomic nuclei have a finite number of constituents – neutrons and protons – they display extremely diverse modes of excitations associated with both single-particle and collective behaviour, and can be regarded as miniature laboratories for studying complex, strongly interacting systems. The ILL is also able to create exotic nuclei with high numbers of neutrons to explore the pathways by which elements are made in the stars.