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Research infrastructures and irradiation facilities for interdisciplinary applications

The National Laboratories of Legnaro host research infrastructures and irradiation facilities (protons and neutrons, heavy ions, gamma-rays) related to Nuclear Physics techniques applied to interdisciplinary fields such as Radiobiology, radiation effects on electronic devices and systems for Space, Material Science and Cultural Heritage.

The list is under constructions.

1) Radiation Effects on Electronic Devices and Systems


Nuclear researches

Atomic nuclei are groups of fermions, neutrons and protons, interacting through electroweak and strong forces. Likewise to what happens in atomic physics, nuclei are organized in shell structures, namely different properties such as binding energies, transition probabilities or the distances between quantum energy levels, assume peculiar values when the amount of protons or neutrons equal certain characteristic numbers. However, differently from atomic physics, the average field which keeps together nucleons is generated by the nucleons themselves, making the nucleus an extraordinary laboratory for the study of many body physics. Moreover, certain types of interactions exist, like the pairing one which couple together nucleons to certain spin configurations, governing quantum properties unique in nature. Another characteristic of nuclei is that mass numbers may vary from few units (like for instance for Helium or Lithium) to some hundreds of units (like for Uranium, last stable), with different values in the neutron or proton number. To this huge variety are associated different properties like lifetimes of ground and excited states, the kind of nuclear decay (gamma, beta, alfa, fission). Through suitable nuclear reactions one can synthesize and study properties of nuclei not available in nature, both from the point of view of nuclear structure and from the one of the reaction mechanism. The classes of experiments which are performed in nuclear physics are therefore extremely broad. One ranges from the study of ground state properties, like the mass, the electric and magnetic moments, to those of structure, like excited levels and the gamma transition probabilities, to the study of nuclear reactions with the partial or total reassembling of colliding nuclei, like transfer or fusion reactions, or the formation of nuclei through fission, break-up channels, or nucleus fragmentation. The Legnaro National Laboratory has a long tradition in nuclear physics research and is equipped with frontier accelerators and instrumentation able to compete with the best world centres in the field of heavy ions at energies close to the Coulomb barrier. LNL is one of the four national facilities funded by INFN with the mission of providing research infrastructures in nuclear physics and nuclear physics based applications for Italian and foreign users. The main research area is on nuclear structure and reaction dynamics, using heavy ion beams provided by the 15 MV Tandem coupled to the superconducting booster ALPI and the heavy ion injector PIAVE. Nuclear structure and reaction dynamics studies at bombarding energies close to the Coulomb barrier are based on dedicated instrumentation developed during the last years, i.e. large gamma arrays, magnetic spectrometers and particle detector arrays.

GAMMA experiment 

The goal is the study of exotic nuclei far from the stability valley, at the limits of existence of the nuclear system, created in nuclear reactions induced by stable and unstable bundles in international collaborations where members of the LNL group have a strong leadership.

Studies with GALILEO

  • High spin states
  • Collectivity and shell model
  • Isospin symmetries and isospin mixing in N=Z nuclei
  • Spectroscopy at the dripline
  • Shell stability and evolution in neutron rich nuclei
  • Symmetries at the critical point
  • New region of deformation
  • Lifetime measurements


PRISMA-FIDES experiment 

Reaction mechanism is focused on near and sub-barrier fusion reactions, elastic, inelastic and multinucleon transfer, break-up processes, nuclear temperature studies at low bombarding energies.

Studies with PISOLO (heavy-ions fusion reactions) and PRISMA (quasi-elastic reactions)

  • Multinucleon transfer
  • Nuclear superfluidity (pair transfer)
  • Elastic and inelastic scattering
  • Near and sub-barrier fusion


Studies with EXOTIC (properties of light radioactive nuclei produced via secondary reactions)

  • Reactions with secondary beams
  • Quasi-elastic scattering
  • Break-up processes


NUCLEX experiment 

Studies with GARFIELD and FAZIA

  • Multifragmentation at low excitation energies
  • Nuclear level density
  • Collective modes
  • Cluster structure


Nuclear researches in collaboration with CERN

LNL groups are also involved in important nuclear physics activities with experiments carried out at other laboratories, for example at CERN. Two main experiments are:

ALICE designed to match the characteristics of the LHC lead beams, via heavy-ion relativistic collisions one forms a highly excited system to study a new matter state called Quark Gluon Plasma (QGP) which appeared at the early stage of the universe. LNL is an official Tier-2 site, so gives an important contribution to the computing of the experiment.

n_TOF devoted to measure neutron cross sections with high energy resolution in a wide range of energies of interest for Nuclear Astrophysics, for applications to new technologies for the production of Nuclear Energy and for Medical applications.

Local coordinator CSN 3: Enrico Fioretto


Applied Physics and Technological Research


Innovation is the key to growth, competitiveness and thus social well-being in the 21st century. Providing new solutions to rapidly emerging societal problems is therefore crucial in an ever more knowledge-intensive economy. In this framework, the specific goals of technological research are to promote excellence science, to excite competitive industries and to establish a better society. INFN support applied physics and technological research through the 5th National Scientific Committe (CSN5): Legnaro labs in particular are a national and international reference for the development of the future prototypes and for the realization of the nowadays particle accelerators. They are employed in fundamental physics research, as well as in other research fields and in economic and social life. A strong interdisciplinary activity concerns developments in radiation detectors, electronics and information technology. These technologies have found broad applications in other science fields, as well as health, defense, cultural heritage and environment preservation. In biomedical field, technological research found relevant application in medical imaging, cancer therapy, dosimetry and treatment planning system in radiotherapy with proton and ion beam.


Research infrastructures and irradiation facilities for interdisciplinary applications

CSN5 president: Dr. Valter Bonvicini
LNL coordinator in charge: Dr. Valeria Conte

More info may be found at the INFN CSN5 website

At LNL in year 2020 the following projects are open.





National Responsible: V. Rigato


Local Responsible: V. Rigato


COURSE: accelerators




Single ion deterministic irradiation and implantation sub-micron | Beam collimation | Single ion detection | Sub-micron beam size determination | Imaging with spatial resolution of nm | IBIC | Avalanche Si pixel detector: response and damage |  Thins films patterned irradiation | Precision targeting with MeV ions



National Responsible: A. Selva


Local Responsible: A. Selva


COURSE: detectors




Microdosimetric characterization of radiation fields



National Responsible: P. Mastinu


Local Responsible: M. Rossignoli


COURSE: accelerators




Production of fast neutrons (E> 1 MeV), study of the performance of neutron screens and study of effects on electronic devices



National Responsible: G. Carugno


Local Responsible: A. Dainelli


COURSE: detectors




Laser interaction with excited and ionized atomic states



National Responsible: L. Bandiera


Local Responsible: D. De Salvador


COURSE: accelerators




Enhancement of bremsstrahlung radiation in oriented crystals



National Responsible: A. Altieri


Local Responsible: E. Fagotti


COURSE: interdisciplinary physics




Process related to Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT)



National Responsible: F. Fraboni


Local Responsible: S. Carturan


COURSE: detectors




Direct and indirect detection in real time of photons and particles



National Responsible: D. Cesini


Local Responsible: S. Fantinel


COURSE: electronics and computing




Equipment for broadband interconnections between data centers using SDN (Software Defined Network) technologies coupled with software for distributed storage federation for the implementation of a DataLake on a national scale. The storage will be installed at Tier 1 and at the Tier 2 of CMS and ATLAS.



National Responsible: M. Cavenago


Local Responsible: M. Cavenago


COURSE: accelerators




Enhanced ion source techniques and neutron detection for particle beam manipulation and fusion application.



National Responsible: A. Andrighetto


Local Responsible: A. Andrighetto


COURSE: interdisciplinary physics




Transportation ionization and identification of Silver isotopes. Photoionization of Ag atoms. Deposition and purification in the secondary target. Synthesis of complexes containing silver and copper (also with radioactive isostopes) Study of organic molecules for the transport of silver to cellular targets, in vivo studies of luminescence and radiolabelling



National Responsible: J. Esposito


Local Responsible: J. Esposito


COURSE: interdisciplinary physics




a) (main objective): study of nuclear reactions 52Cr (p, n) 52g / mMn, 53Cr (p, 2n) 52g / mMn, 54Cr (p, 3n), 52g / mMn and of the main reaction producing channels contaminants of the Mn. b) (secondary objective): study of alternative nuclear reactions that can produce 52m / gMn, using both proton and deutonic beams: 52Cr (d, 2n); 56Fe (p, αn); 56Fe (d, α2n); 54Fe (p, 3He); 54Fe (d, α) and evaluation of the main interferents. (c) Study of new transporter molecules (drugs) able to maintain the paramagnetic properties of Mn52 for future hybrid PET / MRI.



National Responsible: P. Zotto


Local Responsible: P. Antonini


COURSE: accelerators




Construction of a prototype modular electrostatic accelerator



National Responsible: G. Cutttone


Local Responsible: V. Conte


COURSE: interdisciplinary physics




p + 11B -> 3 alpha reaction study to improve the effectiveness of a proton therapy treatment



National Responsible: V. Conte


Local Responsible: V. Conte


COURSE: interdisciplinary physics




Track structure measurements at the nanometer level. Microdosimetry at the nanometer



National Responsible: D. De Salvador


Local Responsible: D. De Salvador


COURSE: detectors




Iper-pure and nanometric doping processes



National Responsible: F. Picollo


Local Responsible: V. Rigato


COURSE: interdisciplinary physics




Study of the effects at cellular level of in vitro radiation of X radiation administered at high dose rates



National Responsible: C. Pira


Local Responsible: C. Pira


COURSE: accelerators




Sputtering systems, cryostats and measurement bench in RF, chemical plant, SEM, XRD

Other experiments


PP_MUNES (National Responsible: A. Pisent; Local Responsible: E. Fagotti)


LARAMED (National Responsible: A. Duatti; Local Responsible: J. Esposito)


ESS-MIUR (National Responsible: S. Gammino; Local Responsible: A. Pisent)


IFMIF (National Responsible: A. Pisent, Local Responsible: A. Pisent)


INFN_E (National Responsible: M. Ripani)


SPES (National Responsible: G. Prete)



National INFN Responsible: M. Cavenago
LNL person in charge: M. Cavenago

Plasma4beam (2017-2019) experiment is an integrated project to develop ion sources, ion coolers, computational techniques and measurement devices for high current ion beams and neutron detectors of interest for project ITER and other fusion reactors, and for SPES project. The experiment is based at five  INFN branches (BA, LNF, LNL, MI and MIB) and is performed in close synergy with ''Consorzio RFX'', Padua and the project PRIMA (Padua Research on ITER Megavolt Accelerator), which is developing the neutral injectors for ITER (nominal beam power 40 MW, that is 40 A of negative ion beam / 1 MV acceleration, for each injector).

Plasma4beam research activities are organized in five workpackages:

WP1: operation and development ( after our design and construction supervision) of a versatile test ion source NIO1, producing 9 beamlets of H- ions up to 15 mA each, 60 kV acceleration voltage; beam is continuously working, or has a duration comparable to ITER specification, as 3600 s). Financed with external funds.

WP2: Radiofrequency Cooler

WP3: development and construction of triple GEM neutron detectors (about which INFN has a long tradition also spread over other experiments and branches); in this case, detectors may have a fast temporal resolution and can give information on neutron energy and therefore on the production reaction.

WP4:  positive ion sources with high current (TRIPS and IFMIF-style)

WP5: theory of ion sources and of particle beams (H- ions with electrons) in strong space charge condition. In addition to using  existing codes, we wrote a code called BYPO introducing new techniques to defeat the granularity error of standard ray tracing(typical of previous codes). Moreover we discover and publish some more analytical (or semi analytical approximation) solution to problems of space charge, and of coupling between radiofrequency and ion source plasma, and of transport near the plasma/sheath/beam transition. In parallel to theoretical research, we built small plasma generators and extraction systems.

beam4fusion 1

Figure 1: Overall design of ion source  NIO1.

beam4fusion 2abeam4fusion 2ab

Figure 2: a) scheme of GEM placement to verify the beam impact area on a adequate calorimeter, as for example an hypervapotron (TM)  b) GEM prototype for SPIDER.

beam4fusion 3

Figure 3: simulation results for ion and coextracted electrons (shown separately): A) electron with high remanence magnet Br= 0.96 T (residual flux density); B) H- ions, with same Br; C) H- ions, with Br=0.48 T magnets; note beam halo.

beam4fusion 4

Figure 4:  the Fast Emittance Scanner

National Laboratories of Legnaro in CMS

Happy birthday CMS! (1992-2017)

CERN press release at the end of Run II (December 2018)

CMS celebrates the end of LHC Run II

Legnaro hosts one of the Tier 2 centers of CMS collaboration. In the picture a glimpse of the room where racks for computers and data storage devices are located may be seen. About 5000 analyses jobs may be submitted and processed simultaneously with a data storage level that achieves more than 3.2 PB (petabytes).

LNL Tier 2 centerComputers and memory storage room in Legnaro labs for the Tier 2-LHC Legnaro-Padua analyses data center.

The Legnaro group gave contributions to develop the central data acquisition system (central DAQ) and the local data acquisition for drift tubes (DT), detectors dedicated to muon identification (local DT DAQ).

From 2010 the Legnaro group gives to the CMS collaboration cDAQ shifters as experts in control room in point P5 near Cessy (France) for the data taking period.

Run I events from proton-proton collisions at 7 TeV (year 2011) and 8 TeV (year 2012) are in the event display gallery.

Legnaro CMS group collaborates to data analysis at 7 TeV and 8 TeV in the exotica field: two published documents (PAPER EXO-11-073, PAS EXO-14-001), a PhD thesis, and a poster given at IFAE2015 National Conference shows the physics results.

At ICHEP 2014, the CMS collaboration says officially: "The CMS di Padova-Legnaro-Trento group partecipated to muon barrel drift tubes and tracker TIB project, test, build and installation; it also gave contributions to define trigger and the data acquistion system for the experiment."

CMS Poster briefly describe the detectors and sub detectors, the magnet, the trigger and the data acquisition system, the collaboration, the infrastructure and the main topics in physics.

Drift Tube Community
Social Media profiles active.  Share, follow & keep it in mind in case of interesting events to share.

Check out the CMS Virtual Visit page to find out what’s in store for you.

Video about CMS

CMS 16marzo2017 DT

CMS 16marzo2017 minus

Introduction to particle physics

Legnaro National Laboratories (LNL) is also involved in research activities related to particle physics or sub nuclear physics at high energy. Such searches are not carried out at the existing LNL accelerator facilities, which are dedicated to low-energy nuclear physics, but in other international research centers, where large accelerators, reaching energy levels needed to explore in great details the sub nuclear components of matter, are installed.

The largest and most powerful accelerator ever is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research - CERN in Geneva. LHC is installed near Geneva across the French-Swiss border.


The main high energy physics goals that such a big accelerator facility has been pursuing are:

  • the study of the Higgs’ boson, discovered at LHC in 2012, (video) which could explain why particles have mass. The SM is a widely accepted theory tested with high precision in the last decades, which gives us a description of the elementary particles at the basis of the known matter in the Universe, as well as the way they interact each other;
  • a dramatic improvement of statistic uncertainty about the measurement of some interesting physics parameters, as well as the confirmation of some subnuclear processes which, although having rare occurrence, are however internal to the SM, involving in particular both top and bottom quarks;
  • Symmetry Violations studies and the observation of the state of matter known as "quark-gluon plasma";
  • the Standard Model and beyond, testing alternative physics theories such as those known as Supersymmetry (SUSY), Technicolor, Strings, Extra Dimensions, which might give an answer to some still unveiled issues discovered in the Universe in the last decade, such as the “Dark Matter” and the “Dark Energy”.

In short, the four, quite large, detector apparatuses available at LHC, probing the matter at the "infinitely small" level, aims at studying the "infinitely large", i.e. the Universe itself, from the birth up to present stage. To perform such a goal, the following four experiments and international cooperation (involving thousands among physicists, engineers, technicians and technologists) are studying the collisions products at LHC:

Legnaro labs are involved in the international efforts and collaboration on ALICE and CMS experiments mainly.



NEWS about Run II

On April 5th 2015 run II starts: some of the first splashes events recorded by CMS are shown in the pictures below.

Event 239754 162 3DTower

Event 239754 162 RhoZ

June - November 2015 proton-proton physics at 13 TeV

April - October 2016 proton-proton physics production at 13 TeV

November 2016 proton-lead ion physics at 5 and 8 TeV

May-December 2017 proton-proton physics production at 13 TeV splash event with beam 1

April-December 2018 proton-proton physics production at 13 TeV

Long Shutdown 2 2019-2020

Local Coordinator CSN1: Sergio Fantinel

Astroparticle Physics

Fundamental physics research at the Legnaro Laboratories is also conducted without the use of accelerator machines. Two lines of research in precision physics at high sensitivity are active: the study of neutrinos and search for axions / properties of the vacuum. The final aim for these research fields is a deeper understanding of the connections between some fundamental concepts of quantum and relativistic physics such as mass and energy from the one side, and time and space to the other.

Neutrinoless double beta decay (CUORE and CUPID)

cuore The measurement of the neutrinoless double beta decay is the main task of the experiment CUORE. This measurement would allow us to get detailed information on the properties of the neutrino, one of the fundamental constituents of the Standard Model of particle physics. The apparatus of CUORE is based on a very sensitive temperature detector (bolometer), constituted by ultra pure crystals of tellurium dioxide (TeO2).

The Legnaro laboratories carried out the ultra-cleaning procedure of the copper used to hold the bolometric structure of TeO2, which is now placed in the Gran Sasso Laboratories of INFN. The ultra-cleaning procedure consisted in a sequence of 70 operations for each component, to be done for a total of 4000 pieces. Among the 70 operations of the cleaning protocol, 5 are of paramount importance: mechanical barreling, electrocleaning, chemical attack, passivation, and the final cleaning with vacuum plasma, according to the assumption that “nothing is cleaner than vacuum”. 

CUPID is the candidate successor of CUORE, with the introduction of the particle identification; it is under research and development.



Axion research (QUAX) and vacuum properties (PVLAS)


Vacuum is generally defined as a region of space without matter and radiation. In classical  physics the empty space has no properties or structures. However, this statement changes in modern physics: the vacuum is the state of minimum energy, and, following from Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, it must be filled with fluctuations. The vacuum becomes populated with virtual particles: particles that appear and disappear within very short time intervals. Due to the presence of virtual particles, the vacuum has physical properties, which are studied in experiments with LNL staffs (PVLAS). In the PVLAS experiment the effect of a magnetic field on the vacuum is studied: the magnetic field acts on the virtual particles and the vacuum becomes similar to a crystal. A polarized laser beam traversing the magnetized vacuum will then change its polarization state: this can be detected by using a device based on an optical resonant cavity and an ultra high sensitivity polarizer. Such effects are so small that nobody has been able to measure them yet, and the cited experiments are trying to reveal them for the first time.

QUAX fotoThe search for cosmological axions using magnetized materials (QUAX) is a way to investigate dark matter. The axion can in fact interact with the electrons in a magnetic material immersed in a static magnetic field, and this result in the emission of electromagnetic radiation in the radio frequency range. By using a microwave cavity with very high quality factor and very sensitive radio frequency detectors it would then be possible to collect the emitted radiation and thus obtain information on the properties of the axion dark matter. To avoid the effect of the thermal background the experiment must be conducted at cryogenic temperature. The researcher forming the QUAX collaboration are studying the feasibility of this detection scheme. 

Local coordinator CSN 2: Giuseppe Ruoso


LNL Events

All events

Programma INFN Docenti (PID)
INFN-LNL, 10-14 February 2020


LNL Seminars

All seminars

The results of E-PLATE project
by Dr Hanna Skliarova (LNL)
Tuesday 17 December 2019 from 10:30 to 12:30, Villi meeting room

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