Plasmas for Astrophysics, Nuclear Decays Observation and Radiation for Archaeometry
Period: Started January 2021 (€ 3.5M nationwide)
Local coordinator: Simone Taioli
PANDORA aims to construct a new plasma trap designed to perform interdisciplinary research, equipped with a multidiagnostic setup to monitor plasma parameters and using an array of High purity Germanium (HPGe) detectors to measure in-plasma β−decays.
The main goal is to carry out, for the first time in a magnetized plasma, beta decay rate measurements of nuclei relevant for astrophysics, as a function of the ionization state. The basic idea of PANDORA is that a compact plasma trap can be used to study the properties of radionuclides, undergoing β± decay or electron capture, in an environment where plasma parameters (density, temperature and charge state distribution (CSD)) are fully under control. The CSD can be modulated according to the RF power sustaining the plasma, the magnetic field strength, the background pressure, etc. This will allow to characterize beta decay rates with respect to the CSD variation, i.e. versus the plasma density and temperature, in a stellar-like condition at least as it concerns the CSD (e.g. like in the stellar cores or resembling primordial nucleosynthesis conditions). Beta decay rates will be evaluated through the detection of the γ−rays emitted by the daughter nuclei in the plasma. An array of high efficiency HPGe detectors placed around the magnetic trap will be used to detect the γ-rays.
Finally, theoretical simulations of β-decay and electron capture estimates via an ad-hoc implemented relativistic model will be compared against experimental measurements.