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Nuclear and particle physics

The ILL has firmly established itself as a pioneer in neutron science and technology. Neutron beams are used to carry out frontier research in diverse fields.

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Science at ILL (old)

Nuclear and particle physics

The ILL has made major achievements also in nuclear and particle physics using neutrons at low energies. The ILL has maintained a diverse suite of neutron sources and instruments to engage in a wide of scientific topics. The continuous development and renewal of the ILL's infrastructure will permit contributing to a better understanding of the fundamental forces in Nature.


Areas of application

Cosmological evolution
Fundamentals of the gravitational force
Refining theories of particles and forces
Stellar astrophysics
The basis of Quantum Mechanics
Nuclear fission
Nuclear structure theories
Transmutation of nuclear waste

Quantum states of matter in a gravitational field

Quantum properties of matter are manifest in a variety of phenomena in Nature, particularly at the microscopic level. Quantum mechanics predicts that subatomic particles can have only certain energy levels, described as quantum states. These states  however had so far  only been observed for three  of the four fundamental forces governing  Nature (strong, weak and nuclear forces), but no  quantum states were observed for the fourth force (gravitational force, the weakest) until now.
For the first time at the ILL, neutrons have revealed quantum states due to gravity.


Living in a material world

The Big Bang is believed to have generated equal populations of particles and anti-particles but our Universe contains predominantly matter, so why is our Universe made of matter? Where has the antimatter disappeared to? Is the standard model of particles and forces used to describe our world complete or are there, for example, additional particles to be discovered?
A project at the ILL is addressing some of the most fundamental questions of our existence. 


A direct test of E=mc2

One of the most striking predictions of Einstein's theory of special relativity is probably the best known formula in all science: E=mc2.

The selection of highlights hereafter - extracted from the ILL annual reports - give a flavour of what can be achieved with neutrons in the field.

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