July 22, 2022 – 20 Years GridKa
20 years ago, on October 30, 2002, the inauguration colloquium of GridKa, the central German computing center for nuclear and particle physics in the worldwide LHC Computing Grid, took place.
The successful operation of GridKa for 20 years was now honored in an event in the SCC at Campus North of KIT. After a greeting of the KIT Presidium by Prof. Dr. Kraft, there were reviews by Prof. Dr. Maschuw, Dipl.-Phys. Mickel and Dr. Marten. Of course, the outlooks into the future could not be missing, Prof. Dr. Mnich (CERN) as well as A. Streit from the SCC took care of that.
22. Juli 2022 – Die Suche nach neuer Physik mit Elektron-Rückstoßsignalen
XENONnT, der neueste Detektor der internationalen XENON-Kollaboration, zeigt ein bisher unerreicht niedriges Niveau an Untergrundsignalen, das eine empfindliche Suche nach neuen, sehr seltenen Phänomenen ermöglicht. Erste Ergebnisse klären nun ein aufregendes Signal, das im Vorgängerexperiment XENON1T beobachtet wurde, und setzen starke Grenzen für verschiedene Szenarien neuer Physik.
Das XENONnT-Experiment wurde entwickelt, um nach den sehr schwer nachweisbaren Teilchen der dunklen Materie zu suchen. Der Detektor enthält fast 6000 kg extrem reines flüssiges Xenon zum Nachweis von Teilchenwechselwirkungen. Um ihn vor kosmischer Strahlung und natürlicher Radioaktivität zu schützen, ist er tief unter der Erde im Untergrundlabor Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso (LNGS) in Italien installiert. Der eigentliche Xenon-Detektor befindet sich in einem großen Wassertank, der mit Lichtsensoren ausgestattet ist, um Myonen und Neutronen abzuschirmen oder nachzuweisen. Trotz der schwierigen Pandemie-Situation wurde XENONnT zwischen Frühjahr 2020 und Frühjahr 2021 gebaut und anschließend in Betrieb genommen. XENONnT nahm zwischen Juli und November 2021 die ersten wissenschaftlichen Daten im Umfang von 97,1 Tagen auf.
Für diese Art von Experimenten ist eine möglichst geringe natürliche Radioaktivität erforderlich. Das gilt sowohl für das Xenon als auch für die Detektormaterialien und die Umgebung. Im Xenon ist vor allem Radon am schwierigsten zu reduzieren, und ihre Verringerung auf ein akzeptables Niveau ist der „heilige Gral“ für Suchen auf dem Empfindlichkeitsniveau von XENONnT. Die XENON-Kollaboration hat nun mit großem Aufwand das Radon auf ein noch nie dagewesenes Niveau reduziert. Grundlage dieses Erfolges ist eine sehr sorgfältige Materialauswahl und der erfolgreiche Betrieb einer Destillationsanlage, die Radon aktiv aus dem Xenon entfernt.
Vor zwei Jahren gab die XENON-Kollaboration die Beobachtung eines Überschusses von Elektron-Rückstoßereignissen im Vorgängerexperiment XENON1T bekannt. Dies sind Signale, bei denen Teilchen Energie auf die Elektronen von Xenon-Atomen übertragen, welche dann nachgewiesen werden. Das Ergebnis löste großes Interesse und zahlreiche Veröffentlichungen aus, da es als Signal für eine „neue Physik“ jenseits bekannter Phänomene gedeutet werden konnte. Wechselwirkungen von solaren Axionen oder Axion-ähnliche Teilchen könnten derartige Signale hervorrufen. Alternativ könnten Neutrinos mit einem anomalen magnetischen Moment oder andere hypothetische Teilchen des dunklen Sektors dafür verantwortlich sein.
Heute hat die XENON-Kollaboration die ersten Ergebnisse ihres neuen und empfindlicheren Experiments XENONnT veröffentlicht. Der Untergrund an Elektron-Rückstößen aus verbleibenden Unreinheiten wurde dabei auf ein Fünftel des Vorgängers XENON1T reduziert. Das Fehlen eines Überschusses in den neuen Daten deutet nun darauf hin, dass das XENON1T-Signal wahrscheinlich von minimalen Spuren radioaktiven Tritiums im flüssigen Xenon verursacht wurde, eine der damals in Betracht gezogenen Hypothesen. Gleichzeitig werden die Szenarien neuer Physik, die alternativ zur Erklärung des Überschusses herangezogen wurden, nun sehr stark eingeschränkt.
Mit diesem neuen Ergebnis, das durch eine blind durchgeführte Analyse erzielt wurde, gibt XENONnT schon mit seinem ersten Datensatz aus dem bisherigen Betrieb sein mit Spannung erwartetes Debüt. Die vorhandenen Daten werden weiter analysiert, um nach schwach wechselwirkenden massiven Teilchen (WIMPs) zu suchen, einem der vielversprechendsten Kandidaten für Dunkle Materie im Universum. In der Zwischenzeit sammelt XENONnT weitere Daten und strebt im Rahmen seines Forschungsprogramms für die nächsten Jahre eine noch höhere Empfindlichkeit an.
Aus Deutschland sind das Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik in Heidelberg, die Universitäten in Freiburg, Mainz und Münster sowie das KIT an XENON beteiligt. Die KIT-Gruppe um Kathrin Valerius und Klaus Eitel am Institut für Astroteilchenphysik wirkte am Zusammenbau und an der Inbetriebnahme des XENONnT-Detektors mit. Die Forscherinnen und Forscher blicken nun gespannt auf die Auswertung weiterer Messdaten.
July 6, 2022 - ETP now official member of the LUXE experiment
Prof. Dr. Torben Ferber, Prof. Dr. Markus Klute, and their reserach groups have officially joined the planned LUXE experiment at DESY. The collaboration board of LUXE has admitted ETP as one of its member institutions. With this step, the ETP expands its physics research program beyond the large collider experiments Belle II and CMS. LUXE (Laser Und XFEL Experiment) is a new experiment that is currently being developed at DESY and the European Free Electron Laser (XFEL) to study the strong-field regime of quantum electro dynamics (QED). In the collisions of electrons and an optical laser, a beam of high energy photons is produced. Researchers at ETP will use this photon beam to search for axion-like particles (ALPs). They are working on the design of the electromagnetic calorimeter and analysis methods to optimize the search.
July 4, 2022 – Study on the properties of the Higgs boson in the journal Nature
Just in time for the 10th anniversary of the announcement of the discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) on July the 4th 2022 the CMS Collaboration has published a comprehensive study of the properties of this unique particle in the journal Nature (607 (2022) 60). The publication summarizes the current state of knowledge about the Higgs boson and relies on an analysis of the data that have been recorded during the years 2016 till 2018.
Young scientists at KIT have contributed to this important result: the decay of the Higgs-Boson into tau-leptons has been investigated with significant contributions of a group of PhD students and students of the ETP. Dr. R. Wolf the leader of this working group notes: "This measurement provides the most accurate information about the coupling strength of the Higgs boson to fermions and thus matter particles, so far. For this measurement we have used state-of-the-art methods of machine learning and of statistical data analysis."
The CERN LHC, close to Geneva, is the world's largest particle accelerator. to date. The LHC experiments CMS and ATLAS had announced the discovery of the Higgs boson, in 2012, and are investigating its properties since then. The Higgs boson is very short-lived and decays into other elementary particles with different probabilities. These particles can be identified in the detectors and used to infer the properties of the Higgs boson.
The figure on the left shows the signal that is left by the Higgs-boson decay in two tau-leptons in the CMS detector after subtracting all other known processes with a comparable signature in the detector ("background processes"). In the figure the number of these decays is shown as a function of the relativistic invariant mass of the tau-leptons, which should coindice with the mass of the Higgs boson of 125 GeV within the resolution of the detector for these decays.
June 2022 - Joining forces towards a next-generation Dark Matter experiment
Scientists from the leading dark matter experiments came together this week at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, joining forces to design and build a future dark matter detector within the XLZD consortium. The XENON and LUX-ZEPLIN collaborations currently each operate some of the most sensitive experiments ever built to detect rare particle interactions, such as those expected from dark matter or neutrinos. The DARWIN collaboration, uniting XENON and new members, is planning a next-generation observatory for rare-event searches based on the liquid-xenon technique. This week, these collaborations came together to jointly work on the next-generation experiment, which is expected to take data later in this decade.
At the meeting in Karlsruhe, the scientists discussed how this experiment can be realized together. The project is expected to make dramatic advances for our understanding of dark matter, the dominant form of matter in the universe. The same experiment will also advance our understanding of how our Sun creates its energy through the study of neutrinos that directly come from the core of our star. Further discoveries may be made through the study of rare nuclear decays. “I am thrilled about the enormous potential of this detector” says Prof. Laura Baudis from the University of Zurich. “With one experiment, we will simultaneously learn about dark matter, neutrinos, our Sun, nuclear physics, particle physics, and even cosmology”. Prof. Hugh Lippincott from the University of Santa Barbara added: “Here we have the best teams in the search for dark matter joining forces, to get to the bottom of this cosmic riddle. We are motivated to do the science, and this meeting has made it clear that we also have the necessary expertise to build this observatory in the coming years.”
A recent whitepaper outlining the science case was signed by over 600 scientists from 150 institutions in 28 countries, underlining the international scope and support of the project. "We had signed a Memorandum of Understanding already in 2021”, says Prof. Kathrin Valerius from KIT, "and this meeting was a great success. It allowed us to further solidify our joint scientific work that we had so far only been able to do remotely over the past year."
May 2022 - Humboldt Professorship: Top international researcher Markus Klute honoured
Twenty-one top researchers, including particle physicist Markus Klute, who was brought to Germany by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), have been awarded Germany's most highly endowed international research prize, the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship, in Berlin. Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger and Hans-Christian Pape, President of the Humboldt Foundation, presented the awards, which are endowed with up to five million euros, during a ceremony.
Markus Klute from the Institute for Experimental Particle Physics (ETP) at KIT previously worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the USA and played a central role with his team in the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment at CERN and contributed significantly to the discovery of the Higgs particle.
Klute is involved in particle physics at the highest energies, both in the design, construction, and commissioning of particle detectors and in the analysis of the collected data. With him as Humboldt Professor, KIT intends to significantly expand its research at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), currently the world's most powerful particle accelerator at CERN. The goal is to enable even more precise measurements and further groundbreaking discoveries in the future. Markus Klute heads the CMS project at ETP, one of the largest university institutes involved in the international experiment.
April 2022 – ETP wins Dr. Michael Hoch
The ETP was able to win Michael Hoch to boost science education and outreach activities. As a trained particle physicist, he is an internationally acclaimed science communicator. Michael Hoch is a creative innovator of novel ideas and concepts for promoting particle physics, physics, and science.
His work is widely recognized and he was awarded the European Physical Society Prize 2017 "for initiatives highlighting the conceptual and physical beauty of high-energy physics, and the inspirational qualities that are common to both Art and Science".
Among his achievements are the art@CMS program, he is founder of the ORIGIN network and initiator and curator of numerous exhibitions. The ORIGIN-CMS exhibition in Seoul is a recent example of his work and was featured in the CERN Bulletin.
200 Jahre Helmholtz – Inspired by Challenges
Hermann von Helmholtz ist Namenspatron der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft. Als letzter Universalgelehrter erforschte er Phänomene der Optik, Akustik, Geologie, Meteorologie und Wärmelehre. Er verstand es, Grundlagenforschung und Anwendung zu verbinden und erfand dabei viele Instrumente wie etwa den Augenspiegel, den Helmholtz-Resonator, den ersten elektronischen Synthesizer oder Apparate zur Messung der Nervenleitgeschwindigkeit. Am 31. August 2021 jährte sich sein Geburtstag zum 200. Mal. Anlässlich des Jubiläums präsentierte die Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft unter dem Motto „200 Jahre Helmholtz – Inspired by challenges“ Forschungsgebiete, an denen WissenschaftlerInnen der Gemeinschaft tagtäglich arbeiten.
Im Helmholtz-Forschungsbereich Materie ist KCETA in allen drei Programmen (Materie und Universum, Von Materie zu Materialien und Leben sowie Materie und Technologien) vertreten:
Challenge #10: Teilchenbeschleuniger tausendmal kleiner bauen, als sie heute sind
Challenge #40: Die Puzzlestücke der Astrophysik zusammenfügen
Challenge #42: Die Weltformel aufspüren
Challenge #44: Teilchenbeschleuniger lernfähig machen
Challenge #46: Das Rätsel der Antimaterie lösen
Challenge #48: Das Geheimnis der Dunklen Materie lüften
Challenge #49: Wie schwer sind Neutrinos?
Challenge #50: Den Ursprung kosmischer Beschleuniger entschlüsseln
Challenge #71: Mit Gravitationswellen den Kosmos besser verstehen
February 14, 2022 – Neutrinos Are Lighter than 0.8 Electron Volts
The international KArlsruhe TRItium Neutrino Experiment (KATRIN) located at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has now been the first to constrain the mass of neutrinos to less 1 electron volt (eV) and, hence, has broken an important “barrier“ in neutrino physics. From the data published in Nature Physics, a new upper limit of 0.8 eV has been derived for the mass of the neutrino. These results obtained by means of a model-independent laboratory method allows KATRIN to constrain the mass of these "lightweights of the universe" with unprecedented precision.
The results have been presented in a public outreach event in German. The presentation is still accessible via the following website: https://www.katrin.kit.edu/leicht-leichter-neutrinos.php
January 2022 – Kathrin Valerius: Expert of the Month
Searching for dark matter, Kathrin Valerius, Professor of Experimental Astroparticle Physics at the KIT Center Elementary Particle and Astroparticle Physics, works on increasingly powerful detectors and, in international collaboration, develops ever more sensitive measuring instruments for experiments of the highest requirements.
Kathrin Valerius is Expert of the Month at KIT, congratulations!
PhD Fellowship for Isabel Haide
Particle Physicist Isabel Haide was awarded a PhD fellowship of the state of Baden-Württemberg (Landesgraduiertenförderung (LGF)) to support excellent young scientists – congratulations!
Isabel Haide will be working at the ETP in the working group of Prof. Torben Ferber. She will focus on real-time reconstruction of particles in the Belle II experiment using artificial intelligence, and searches for dark photons.
Isabel Haide is PhD student in KSETA, the graduate school associated with the KIT Center KCETA.
26. Nov. 2021 – Prof. Torben Ferber bei der Nacht der Wissenschaft
In der Nacht vom 26. November 2021 fand wieder die "Nacht der Wissenschaft" statt. Bis in die frühen Morgenstunden waren viele spannende Vorträge aus den verschiedensten Fachbereichen als Livestream verfügbar.
Auch ein KCETA-Wissenschaftler, Prof. Torben Ferber, war dabei:
"Das Unsichtbare sichtbar machen: wie man nach dunkler Materie sucht
Spannend und zugleich sehr mysteriös: Der Großteil unseres Universums besteht aus dunkler Materie – einer Form von Materie die sich bislang nur indirekt durch ihre Schwerkraft bemerkbar macht. Forscher weltweit suchen mit Hochdruck nach einem Nachweis im Labor: Tief unter der Erde, im Weltall, oder an den größten Teilchenbeschleunigern der Welt. Was wir über dunkle Materie wissen und was wir nicht wissen und wie man Unsichtbare Dinge sichtbar macht – und was hat das alles mit Spülmittel und Eichhörnchen zu tun?"
October 2021 – Prof. Thomas Müller appointed KIT Distinguished Senior Fellow
We cordially congratulate Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller (ETP) on the award of the status KIT Distinguished Senior Fellow as of October 1, 2021. The KIT Executive Board has thus followed the recommendation of the Council of Researchers and Promotion of Young Scientists (CRYS) and the proposal of Head of Division V Prof. Dr. Marc Weber.
With this special award, KIT honors outstanding personalities from science in order to preserve their experience and knowledge for research, innovation, and young scientists or the education of students even after their retirement.
Thomas Müller will thus continue to pursue his scientific topics at KIT and continue his university teaching.
September 2021 – Meghana M. Patil receives prestigious 2021 Faraday Cup Award
Doctoral researcher Meghana M. Patil gives the award lecture "Ultra-fast line-camera KALYPSO for fs-laser-based electron beam diagnostics" at the IBIC'21 conference for an outstanding contribution to the development of an innovative beam diagnostic instrument of proven workability. She is a research associate at KIT LAS (Prof. A.-S. Müller) and a member of the Diagnosis R&D group (led by E. Bründermann) at KIT IBPT as well as of the beam diagnostics group at KIT IPE (led by Michele Caselle). The prize is only given for devices with demonstrated and published performance.
September 2021 – Ulrich Husemann re-elected to the DPG Council
Congratulations to Prof. Ulrich Husemann (Institute of Experimental Particle Physics) who was re-elected to the DPG Council of the German Physics Society (DPG). The DPG is the world's largest physics society. As the representative of all DPG members, the Council decides on important changes and innovations in the DPG.
Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG)
CMS Experiment at CERN's LHC is preparing for Run 3 data-taking
As part of the commissioning step, CMS is recording cosmic data with disabled magnetic field since July 12th, 2021. The recorded cosmic events are the first ones since the shutdown of the LHC after Run 2 data-taking, using an upgraded and re-assembled CMS detector. The recorded cosmic data, which is distributed across the world on HEP computing centers like GridKA, is important for detector calibration and lays path for the Run 3 data-taking with fully enabled CMS detector to be started in 2022.
July 2021 – ICRC Award for Nikolaos Karastathis
July 2021 – KIT Drives Digitization of Science
Research data play a key role in the sciences. Data volumes are increasing rapidly in all areas of science. Existing data sets are considered an important basis for new findings. However, these are often difficult to access for the general scientific community. The federal and state governments are therefore establishing the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI). In the NFDI, scientific data are to be systematically indexed, secured for the long term and made accessible.
The central element are consortia in which users and providers of research data cooperate with information infrastructure institutions. The Joint Science Conference (GWK) has now announced consortia that will be considered in a new funding round. Scientists from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are involved in five of the ten consortia funded this year.
Relevant for KCETA is PUNCH4NFDI, the NFDI consortium of particle, astroparticle, hadron, and nuclear physics. PUNCH physics is concerned with the fundamental constituents of matter and their interactions, and their role in the formation of the largest structures in the universe - stars and galaxies.
July 2021 – Tracking down Neutrinos with Virtual Reality
Large-scale basic research experiments such as the KATRIN experiment at Campus North are usually hardly accessible to the public. This is due to the special purity requirements and safety regulations - and, of course, the fact that the ongoing experiments must not be disturbed. Now, a virtual reality application opens up new possibilities for experience. Users thus gain a direct insight into the interior of the research facility and experience how the elementary particles move and behave in this large experimental setup. In addition, the application also offers the possibility to slip into the role of a scientist and interact with the experiment - for example, by changing variables of the measurement during virtual operation.
The VR environment was developed in cooperation with the National Institute for Science Communication (NaWik). The public and media are invited to the online presentation on July 7, 2021, at 5:00 pm.
July 2021 – Distinguished Humboldt Professorship for Top International Researcher
The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) brings another world-leading researcher to Germany: particle physicist Markus Klute has been selected for a Humboldt Professorship. With this appointment, KIT aims to become a world leader in the LHC program at CERN and to develop new collaborations at the KIT Center Elementary Particle and Astroparticle Physics (KCETA) and its graduate school KSETA. Klute, who will succeed Professor Thomas Müller (now appointed KIT Distinguished Senior Fellow), is to take over the leadership of the CMS project at the Institute for Experimental Particle Physics (ETP). The award of this worldwide recognized expert in experimental particle physics is at the same time a great recognition of KIT's research strength in this field.
For the year 2022, only six outstanding researchers worldwide receive this special award, which is also the most highly endowed research award in Germany. With this, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation supports the return of excellent researchers to Germany, in this case Prof. Klute (full professorship at MIT) to the ETP.
Today, we are not only pleased about a reinforcement of KCETA and fundamental research, but equally about a sustainable reinforcement of particle physics at KIT and in particular of our already very strong CMS team at CERN.
May 2021 – Miriam Brosi Helmholtz Doctoral Prize Winner
Each year, the Helmholtz Doctoral Prize is awarded to six young scientists, one prize for each of the six Research Fields (RF) of the Helmholtz Association. They conducted top-level research to identify and explore the major challenges facing society, science and the economy. For RF Matter, IBPT member Dr. Miriam Brosi (photo on the right) won for her outstanding doctoral thesis "In-Depth Analysis of the Micro-Bunching Characteristics in Single and Multi-Bunch Operation at KARA".
March 2021 – Two KIT physicists are appointed to the “Gutachterausschuss” of the BMBF
KIT professors Margarete Mühlleitner and Ulrich Husemann were appointed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research BMBF to serve in the “Gutachterausschuss” (Advisory Board of the Funding Agency) during the next three year term beginning in July 2021. Prof. Mühlleitner has been put in charge of the theoretical component in the research proposals, and Prof. Husemann, who will be serving for a second term, has been chosen to be the co-chair of this prestigious board.
The German funding of science activities is carried out with a rather large variety of instruments. Focusing on universities (and this includes the university groups at KIT), in most cases the DFG (German Research Organization) is the prime partner to support scientific research activities in almost every field of science. Several projects in KCETA are being funded by the DFG.
Also the BMBF supports university research but with a slightly different emphasis than the DFG. Once a large and long-lasting national or international science project has been identified as federal interest (usually because it has been funded by the federal government), the ministry supports the participation of university groups in this project, provided, that the States hosting the groups match this support.
Funding by the BMBF is vital to university groups to carry out these collaborative research efforts – it covers foremost the cost of construction and operation of instruments, and of travel and salaries of scientists. The largest support is provided for research in the field of nuclear and particle physics. The projects typically last for 10-20 years, and the project groupings comprise several hundred people. This is reflected by the overall budget in this area of about 100 M€ for a three year period.
It is the task of the 24 scientists of the Gutachterausschuss to scrutinize typically 200 applications from university groups at the beginning of a funding cycle and to find a way to match the requirements and the allotted resources. We at KCETA are proud to have two of our colleagues in this important board.
March 2021 – Highest-energy cosmic neutrino confirms open theory of particle physics
On December 8, 2016, a neutrino with extremely high energy was measured at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole, allowing surprising conclusions to be drawn about fundamental questions in particle physics.
IceCube is an international collaboration in which KIT is also involved. With the help of about 5000 ultra-sensitive light sensors embedded deep in the Antarctic ice, IceCube has been measuring neutrinos in a volume of one cubic kilometer around the clock since 2010.
Neutrinos with such high energy are rare; even with IceCube, such an event can only be measured every few years. The analysis has just been published in the renowned scientific journal "Nature". According to the results, the neutrino originated outside our solar system and also confirms for the first time a 60-year-old theory of particle physics: In a defined energy range, in which exactly the energy of the measured neutrino lies, neutrinos react 100 times stronger with matter than in other energy ranges (the so-called Glashow resonance).
"Due to its expertise, KIT contributes in particular in the instrumental improvement of the observatory," explains Andreas Haungs, scientific coordinator of the IceCube participation of KIT. "In addition, we simulate high-energy events with the CORSIKA Program, developed in Karlsruhe, and analyze a special event class, high-energy charged cosmic rays."
- Press release
- Detection of a particle shower at the Glashow resonance with IceCube
The IceCube Collaboration: R. Abbasi et al., Nature
February 2021 – CMS 2020 Award for KCETA Physicists
These prizes were created by the 5000-strong international CMS collaboration from 41 nations to give young scientists recognition for outstanding achievements in CMS every year.
Andreas Nürnberg is working in Prof. Husemann's research group on the preparations for the construction of the silicon track detector for the phase II period of data taking at the Large Hadron Collider as of 2027. This tracking detector has to be imagined as a 200 m2 large microchip assembled in layers, designed to measure with micrometer accuracy the trajectories of thousands of ionizing particles entering simultationusly the detector, and this 40 million times per second! The detector is conceived to remain functional in the radiation environment of the LHC for at least 10 years. Like its current predecessor, in which the ETP was already significantly involved, it will be the largest of its kind in the world.
Ivan Shvetsov works in Prof. Müller's research group at CERN and has been in charge of the operation and maintenance of the current tracking detector for several years. The detector system is currently being prepared again for data taking (Run III) in the next three years.
Both award winners - long-time members of the Karlsruhe CMS Group - did their PhD at KIT and are on their way to international careers. The awards were announced in the plenary session at the beginning of the CMS week on February 1, 2021. However, due to the protective rules in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, the CMS week had to take place online, so that the plaques now wait at CERN for Dr. Nürnberg and Dr. Shvetsov.
February 2021 – Sloan Research Fellowship for Frank Schröder
Prof. Dr. Frank G. Schröder, Astroparticle physicist and KCETA scientist, has received the Sloan Research Fellowship, one of the most competitive and prestigious awards available to researchers in the U.S. and Canada early in their careers. Winners receive $75,000, which may be spent over a two-year term on any expense supportive of their research.
Frank G. Schröder works on the detection of ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays, which is done by measuring extended air showers. These are cascades of secondary particles that are created when a high-energy cosmic particle hits our atmosphere. Frank G. Schröder is a pioneer in the detection of these air showers using radio technology. Already in his PhD thesis at KIT from 2008 to 2010, he used this technique at the LOPES experiment.
In his subsequent activities, Schroeder repeatedly made significant contributions to the development of this technique. In particular, Schroeder and colleagues were able to show that digital antenna arrays can increase the accuracy for the mass composition of cosmic rays. This is one of the key parameters for studying possible scenarios for its formation.
While working at several cosmic ray observatories, including the Pierre Auger Observatory and Tunka-Rex, Schroeder has spent most of the last three years focusing on the IceCube neutrino observatory at the South Pole. He hopes to make IceCube's surface array IceTop the most accurate detector of the highest-energy cosmic rays from our own galaxy by adding radio antennas to the particle detectors. Here, KIT has a close collaboration with the University of Delaware, with Professor Schröder working half as a scientist at KIT and half in his faculty position at the University of Delaware.
February 2021 – Open Data Release by the Pierre Auger Observatory
The Pierre Auger Collaboration is releasing 10% of the data recorded using the world’s largest cosmic ray detector. These data are being made available publicly with the expectation that they will be used by a wide and diverse community including professional and citizen-scientists and for educational and outreach initiatives. While the Auger Collaboration has released data in a similar manner for over a decade, the present release is much wider with regard to both the quantity and type of data, making them suitable both for educational purposes and for scientific research.
The release contains not only data, but also algorithms for their analysis. With this, scientific results of the Observatory, some of which were lead by reaseachers from KIT, can be reproduced directly.
"This is a big step for the reproducibility of research results", says Dr. Ralf Ulrich, who developed the public source code for particle physics with cosmic particles together with the IAP PhD student Olena Tkachenko.
11. Februar 2021 – International Day of Women and Girls in Science
In December 2015, the United Nations General Assembly established February 11th as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The sponsorship of more than 65 countries and the approval of all Member States to the resolution signals the global community’s interest in transforming our world through achieving gender parity in educational opportunity and scientific participation and preparation.
January 2021 – Rossi Prize awarded to Francis Halzen and the IceCube Collaboration
Congratulations to Francis Halzen and the IceCube Collaboration for being awarded the 2021 Bruno Rossi Prize "for the discovery of a high-energy neutrino flux of astrophysical origin." The prize is awarded annually by the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society.
Francis Halzen, professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA), is the Principal Investigator of the IceCube Neutrino Telescope and winner of the KCETA Julius Wess Prize 2017.
The IceCube Collaboration is made up of over 300 researchers from 53 institutions in 12 countries. At our IceCube group at KIT there are currently 26 researchers working mainly on the enhancement of the Observatory with new detectors to make IceCube a multi-messenger observatory, i.e., to measure high-energy cosmic rays and gamma-rays in addition to neutrinos.
"This award is very special because it recognizes IceCube as the collaborative effort that it is," said Halzen. "We appreciate this recognition of our scientific contributions by the astronomy community, which strengthens our resolve to continue the development of IceCube as an optimal tool for multimessenger astronomy."
December 2020 – Dr. Andreas Haungs new APPEC Chair
On December 9, KCETA scientist Dr. Andreas Haungs was elected as the new Chair of the APPEC General Assembly (GA).
APPEC is the European Astroparticle Consortium, consisting of 19 funding agencies, national government institutions, and institutes from 17 European countries responsible for coordinating and funding national research efforts in astroparticle physics.
The GA is the strategic, decision-making, and oversight body of APPEC, responsible for APPEC's overall strategy and processes. Representatives to the GA are appointed by the participating institutions. The representatives are typically the directors of major astroparticle physics institutes or agencies, or heads of major national astroparticle physics programs.
The Chair of the General Assembly is elected by the General Assembly for a two-year term. Dr. Andreas Haungs will take over the chair from Prof. Teresa Montaruli as of January 1, 2021.
Read here an Interview with Andreas Haungs and the new General Secretary Katharina Henjes-Kunst, where they tell us a bit about themselves and about their vision for the future of APPEC.
October 2020 – Successful proposal at the "Future Fields"
Gravitational waves are waves in spacetime caused by accelerated masses, for example when two black holes merge. In order to detect them successfully, it is necessary to separate the influences of the system Earth on the signals from space that are to be detected. This requires, among other things, a close interaction of physics and earth sciences (especially geophysics).
The most advanced earthbound project of the third generation of gravitational wave detectors is the European Einstein Telescope. A contribution to the technological preparation of this major project, which is currently in the planning phase, is the background to this investment.
MoniGrav will address the general problem of monitoring the environmental and operational parameters of the Einstein Telescope. The observables include seismic, geomagnetic field, temperature, acoustics, pressure, humidity and the electrical charge of the atmosphere by cosmic radiation. We aim to develop a multipurpose network of sensors for this monitoring and will test them at the operating Virgo detector.
Partners at MoniGrav are at KIT the GPI (A. Rietbrock), the SCC (A. Streit) and the IAP (A. Haungs, R. Engel), and the European Gravitational Observatory EGO in Cascina near Pisa, Italy.
Prof. Dr. Willem de Boer, 1948 – 2020
It is with great sadness that we have to inform you about the unexpected passing of our dear colleague and friend Prof. Dr. Willem (“Wim”) de Boer on October 13, 2020, at the age of 72.
Please read here our obituary.
The name tells the story
The idea is more than 15 years old, but now it is approved, official and already implemented in all committees: The Institute for Nuclear Physics (IKP) has changed its name to Institute for Astroparticle Physics (IAP). Thus, the IAP now also carries the main direction of research of the largest institute in KCETA in its name.
The Institute for Astroparticle Physics (IAP) investigates fundamental mysteries of nature at the interface of cosmology, astrophysics and elementary particle physics. In collaboration with international research institutions, the IAP conducts basic research in the fields of particle and astroparticle physics. In the Topic Matter and Radiation from the Universe in the Helmholtz program Matter and the Universe, the IAP is dedicated to experimental and theoretical astroparticle physics, especially in the measurement of the neutrino mass with KATRIN and the Tritium Laboratory Karlsruhe (TLK), the search for dark matter with XENONnT and the future project DARWIN, and the exploration of the high-energy universe with the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina and the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole.
New Feature found in UHECR Energy Spectrum
September 2020 – The energy spectrum of the highest-energy particles in the Universe, ultra-high energy cosmic rays, has been measured with the Pierre Auger Observatory with an unprecedented precision. In addition to the well-known kink in the energy spectrum, typically referred to as the ankle, a new spectral break is found at somewhat higher energy. This new break in the energy spectrum can be explained by an energy-dependent mass composition of cosmic rays. The results are published in two related papers (Phys. Rev. Lett. 125, 121106 (2020) and Phys. Rev. D 102, 062005 (2020)).
This determination of the energy spectrum is unique in having an unprecedented exposure of more than 60,000 km2 sr yr, in its method of determining the spectrum free of assumptions about the mass composition of the initial cosmic ray particle, and about details of the hadronic physics of air showers.
Change at the top of KCETA
At its meeting on 23 September 2020, the KCETA steering committee unanimously elected new spokespersons. As of October 1, Prof. Dr. Anke-Susanne Müller (IBPT) will be the spokesperson of KCETA and thus succeeds Prof. Dr. Marc Weber, who will be head of Division V in the future. Prof. Dr. Margarete Mühlleitner (ITP) will be deputy spokesperson of KCETA and thus succeeds Prof. Dr. Dieter Zeppenfeld.
Johannes Blümer is in well-deserved retirement
Prof. Dr. Johannes Blümer, who has been KIT Head of Division V – Physics and Mathematics for the past five years, has taken his well-deserved retirement at the end of September 2020. As professor at the ETP and head of the IKP (today IAP), Blümer was not only scientific director of KCETA and also KSETA for many years, but was significantly involved in the initiation and establishment of both the KCETA center and the KSETA graduate school.
Due to the corona desease we met for the farewell in a small circle consisting of the current scientific directors of the center and the school, to thank Mr. Blümer for his activities, to exchange some interesting and remarkable anecdotes from the foundation times of KIT, KCETA and KSETA and to hand over a small present in form of a laser printed KCETA glass object.
Mr. Blümer will stay with KIT as a Distinguished Senior Fellow and will certainly keep an eye on the fate and further development of KCETA and KSETA.
September 2020 – Young Scientist Award for Dr. Go Mishima
Dr. Go Mishima, research associate at the IAP, has received the "Particle Physics Medal: Young Scientist Award in Theoretical Particle Physics". This prize is awarded by the particle physics division of the Physical Society of Japan. It honors Dr. Mishima's achievements in connection to a new technique which he developed for the calculation of Feynman integrals with several mass scales. The results are published in the paper "High-Energy Expansion of Two-Loop Massive Four-Point Diagrams," JHEP 1902 (2019) 080.
August 2020 – CORSIKA publication is cited more than 1000 times
Great achievement for the CORSIKA-Team (COsmic Ray SImulation at KArlsruhe):
Until August 2020 the report FZKA 6019 (1998), which describes the CORSIKA simulation program, was cited more than 1000 times in scientific publications. The Harvard Citation Index was used as a basis for the census.
This event was celebrated with a small drink on September 15th in the presence of two of the five authors at Campus North in compliance with COVID19 rules.
August 2020 – Last of 660 Auger Prime SSD Detectors completed at KIT
For more than two years AugerPrime SSD detectors were built at IKP after intensive development. Just recently, the last of the 660 units has been completed at KIT and the final shipments to Argentina are in preparation.
This outstanding achievement is especially due to the untiring commitment of our technicians Günter, Heike, Heiko, Michael and Mo, for which we would like to express our sincere thanks.
This milestone was celebrated on August 28th at Campus North in a relaxed atmosphere and with the appropriate COVID19 distance.
June 2020 – Particle detector for SKA-Low calibrated at IKP
The recent tests were performed at KCETA Institute IKP, which has the facilities and expertise to more precisely measure the performance of the final design. KIT also provided the scintillator material, used in an earlier cosmic-ray experiment called KASCADE.
June 19, 2020 – CMS collaboration submits thousandth publication
On June 19, 2020, the CMS Collaboration reached a historic milestone: the thousandth scientific publication was submitted to a journal. Never before in the history of particle physics has an experiment achieved so many publications. KIT physicists were significantly involved in about 80 of these publications.
Only publications of the entire CMS collaboration in peer-reviewed journals are counted; in addition, there are special technical publications, some of which are published only by the group that built and operates the CMS track detector, and conference proceedings.
The first publication of the CMS Collaboration in 2008 was titled "The CMS experiment at the CERN LHC" and describes the construction of the detector. Since then, about 100 publications have been published every year. The most famous CMS publication deals with the discovery of the Higgs boson. It was published in 2012 and has been cited more than 10000 times in other publications. For almost 25 years, KIT, formerly the Universität Karlsruhe (TH), under the direction of Prof. Müller (Institute for Experimental Particle Physics) together with colleagues Husemann, Quast, and Weber and their working groups have been involved in the construction, operation, and analysis of the CMS experiment. "We expect to double the number of publications in the next ten years and gain deep insights into the nature of the smallest particles," the researchers promise.
A chronological list of all publications of the CMS collaboration can be found here.
All publications with collision data are graphically listed here sorted by topic as a function of the time of submission.
June 17, 2020 – Surprising Signal in the XENON1T Dark Matter Experiment
Scientists from the international XENON collaboration announced today that data from their XENON1T, the world's most sensitive dark matter experiment, show a surprising excess of events. The scientists do not claim to have found dark matter. Instead, they say to have observed an unexpected rate of events, the source of which is not yet fully understood. The signature of the excess is similar to what might result from a tiny residual amount of tritium (super heavy hydrogen), but could also be a sign of something more exciting: the existence of a new particle known as the solar axion or the indication of previously unknown properties of neutrinos... read more in the press release
The KIT team has recently joined the XENON collaboration and participates in the work on XENONnT, as well as in the preparation of the future planned DARWIN observatory.
Prof. Kathrin Valerius, KCETA scientist at the Institute of Nuclear Physics confirms: "The XENON group of the KIT is also very pleased about the impressive sensitivity achieved with XENON1T. It lays the foundation for the even more sensitive XENONnT detector which is currently under construction"
Observation of Excess Electronic Recoil Events in XENON1T, XENON Collaboration
June 14, 2020 – Belle II: World record in the accelerator ring
Tailwind for the search for rare particle decays and exotic phenomena at the Belle II experiment in the KEK laboratory in Tsukuba, Japan: The "SuperKEKB" accelerator ring has achieved the highest luminosity ever measured. The electron-positron accelerator thus beats not only its predecessor KEKB, but also the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. This has now been announced by the Japanese research centre KEK, the operator of the accelerator.
Read all details here (German only)
June 2020 – CMS Detector Award for Dr. Stefan Maier
Dr. Stefan Maier, research associate at ETP, has been one of two scientists to receive the "Detector Award" of the CMS Tracker for the year 2019, for his "[...] outstanding contributions to the upgrade of the Outer Tracker, including development of procedures and systems in 2S module assembly and qualification and the development of a high-rate test stand for the module readout chain." Dr. Maier has built several prototypes of the newly developed dual-layer silicon strip detectors for the CMS Tracker renewal program and has optimized the procedures and tools for this. He has also developed a setup in which LEDs are used to feed electrical pulses at highest rates into the readout electronics. This allows high track densities to be simulated and the modules to be tested under realistic trigger rates. Dr. Maier carried out the work, which was so excellent, as part of his doctorate, which was funded by the KSETA graduate school. "We are very happy with Stefan about this award for his outstanding work at ETP", says project leader and PhD supervisor Prof. Ulrich Husemann.
While the award had already been announced in February, the festive presentation of the award plaque was to take place during the CMS week in April. However, due to the protection rules in connection with the COVID 19 pandemic, the CMS week had to take place online, so that the plaque is now waiting for Dr. Maier at CERN.
June 5, 2020 – CERN Courier: Funky physics at KIT
A new experiment at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) called FUNK – Finding U(1)s of a Novel Kind – has reported its first results in the search for ultralight dark matter. Using a large spherical mirror as an electromagnetic dark-matter antenna, the FUNK team has set an improved limit on the existence of hidden photons as candidates for dark matter with masses in the eV range.
It is the doctoral thesis of KSETA member Arnaud Andrianavalomahefa and partly also the work of Christoph Schäfer. KCETA scientist Dr. Darko Veberic provided strong support and supervision... Read more in the CERN Courier
May 4, 2020 – "Physik in unserer Zeit" writes about KATRIN
After more than 60 years of research on neutrinos, their masses are still unknown. The Karlsruhe tritium neutrino experiment KATRIN is expected to improve the current measurement accuracy by a factor of ten. Last autumn, the facility delivered its first preliminary results and thus already narrowed down the neutrino mass by a factor of two more than before.
The German language physics magazine "Physik in unserer Zeit" in its current issue (Vol. 51/No. 3) dedicated its Cover story to KATRIN, written by Prof. Guido Drexlin (KIT/KCETA), Prof. Christian Weinheimer (University of Münster) and Prof. Kathrin Valerius (KIT/KCETA).
April 14, 2020 – Searching for the Z‘-Boson
The Belle II experiment has been in operation for about a year at the Japanese Research Centre for Particle Physics KEK in Tsukuba, about 50 kilometres north of Tokyo. Here, an international team of researchers with the participation of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is searching for exotic particles that will advance our understanding of dark matter in the universe. For one of these particles, the so-called Z' boson, the mass and strength of its interaction have now been narrowed down with previously unattainable precision. The results have just been published in the renowned scientific journal Physical Review Letters.
Research Fellowship for Go Mishima
Dr. Go Mishima, postdoc at IKP, has won a "Research Fellowship for Young Scientists"
of the Japanese science foundation JSPS. It permits him to do three years of research at a university of his choice. He will stay for half a year at KIT and will then move to Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan.
November 29, 2019 – KATRIN on the Cover of the Physical Review Letters
On November 25, 2006, the main spectrometer of the KATRIN experiment was transported in a spectacular action through Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen to Campus North of KIT.
Exactly thirteen years later, the collaboration published its first results of the neutrinomass measurements. That's worth a place on the cover of the Physics Review Letters!
November 2019 – Kathrin Valerius among the "Young Elite – top 40 under 40"
KCETA scientist Dr. Kathrin Valerius was chosen by the business journal CAPITAL as one of Germany’s “Young Elite - top 40 under 40” in the category science and society. Each year the honors go to the top 40 under 40 from economy, politics, science, and society, who have the potential to influence and shape the future of Germany.
On November 21st, they came together at the “Young Elite Summit” in Berlin to exchange ideas beyond their usual sphere of action and set new impulses for society.
Juli 5, 2019 – Nobel Laureate Shipping 2019
A total of 18 Nobel Prize winners and around 600 young international scientists from 80 countries took part in the trip to the island of Mainau under the motto "Your first step to Stockholm: Baden-Württemberg". On board the "MS Sonnenkönigin", Baden-Württemberg universities and research centres presented current work and results on this year's main topic of physics with a special focus on cosmology, laser physics and gravitational waves.
Dr. Magnus Schlösser presented the KATRIN experiment at KIT. His stand was also visited by Ulrich Steinbach, Ministerial Director and Head of Office in the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of Baden-Württemberg.
July 16, 2019 – IceCube becomes Antarctic Neutrino Laboratory
With the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, which is part of the American Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, convincing evidence of a first source of high-energy cosmic neutrinos was found in 2017. Now the observatory is being upgraded into an international neutrino laboratory with German participation. The IceCube detector will be extended to lower energies in order to measure the properties of neutrinos with unprecedented accuracy. A working group of KCETA is also involved in the upgrade of IceCube.
July 2019 – The two most massive quarks put the spotlight on the Higgs boson
The two heaviest known elementary particles, the top (t) quark and the Higgs (H) boson, are deeply connected. They provide an essential probe of the Standard Model (SM) of particle physics, our best attempt so far at describing the fundamental particles and their interaction, and of hypothetical new physics beyond the SM. In the SM, the strength of the interaction between the Higgs boson and matter particles (quarks and leptons) is proportional to their mass. Since the top quark is the heaviest of all particles, the interaction between the Higgs boson and top quarks is also the strongest. As a result of that top-Higgs interaction, Higgs bosons can be produced in association with top quark pairs (this is called the ttH process and was first confirmed in 2018). Measuring the rate at which this rare process happens in the collisions between protons at the LHC, i.e. the probability that a given collision results in the simultaneous production of a top quark pair and a Higgs boson, is the most direct way to study the top-Higgs interaction. In turn, this tells us a lot about the nature of the Higgs boson and helps us answer questions such as: is the Higgs boson actually elementary? Are there other kinds of Higgs bosons out there? Is the universe stable?
April 18, 2019 – nature: Radio telescope LOFAR looks deep into lightning
What exactly happens when lightning strikes occur is still unclear. Using high-resolution data from the LOFAR radio telescope, an international team of researchers has now discovered needle-shaped structures that could bring light into the discharge processes. Important foundations for the measurement of flashes with the world's largest antenna array were laid at the KIT. What lies behind the previously unknown needles has now been published in the journal "nature".
When ice crystals collide in a thunderstorm cloud, they charge electrically. Winds can separate the crystals, so that one part of the cloud is positively charged, the other negatively. If the resulting electric field becomes too large, a violent discharge occurs, which we perceive as lightning and thunder. The discharge begins with a small volume of air in which electrons separate from the air molecules. This ionized air, also called plasma, is electrically conductive. The plasma spreads out as branched channels until it hits the earth and the electrical voltage of the clouds discharges as lightning. The exact processes in these channels up to the recent discovery of the "lightning needles" are revealed by high-resolution data derived from radio signals of lightning, measured with the Dutch radio telescope LOFAR (Low Frequency Array), in which the KIT participates.
"Thanks to the high spatial and temporal resolution of LOFAR, we can investigate the formation of flashes in a completely new order of magnitude, right down to the primary processes," explains Dr. Brian Hare from the University of Groningen and first author of the publication in the journal "Nature". LOFAR consists of thousands of antennas spread across Europe - an array primarily developed for astronomical observations, but now also used to measure cosmic rays. The signals triggered by the cosmic particles in the atmosphere are buffered at the individual antennas and then read out for various analyses. "This technology, which is being advanced at KIT, is now also being used to measure and store radio signals emitted by lightning," explains KCETA-scientist Dr. Tim Huege from the Institute of Nuclear Physics at KIT and a member of the "LOFAR Cosmic Ray Key Science Project".
3-D animations of lightning development in radio light
Credits: Stijn Buitink (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Brian Hare (University of Groningen)
Slow motion of a developing lightning, which in reality lasts 0.2 seconds and spans about 5 kilometres in all directions. The yellow dots show current radio signals, the white dots the past ones for illustration.
Close-up of a plasma channel that in reality lasts 0.1 seconds and spans 400 meters. One of the newly discovered needle-shaped structures is marked in red.
Brian Hare, Olaf Scholten et al. Needle-like structures discovered on positively charged lightning branches. Nature, 18 April 2019, https://www.nature.com, DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1086-6.
March 2019 – Installation of the first antenna for the AugerPrime Radio Upgrade
Young scientists cheer after installing the first antenna for the AugerPrime radio upgrade!
Also on site: KSETA PhD student and member of the Helmholtz International Research School (HIRSAP) Felix Schlüter (second from left).
The radio upgrade, which is part of the AugerPrime upgrade, is a very important part of the future research of the Pierre Auger Observatory by adding array-based composition sensitivity for large zenith angles, for which the scintillator upgrade is not effective. Having good composition-sensitive information up to very large zenith angles is crucial for composition-improved anisotropy studies and adds to the overall aperture of the observatory.
January 2019 – KASCADE goes Outback
A trial detector for studying cosmic rays has been set up alongside the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Western Australia. This 'proof of concept' detector is the first step in developing a set of detectors for the low-frequency Square Kilometre Array (SKA1-low) telescope, which is to be built at the MRO. In the longer term, these kinds of detectors will be used to trigger the MWA to capture the radio pulse associated with an incoming cosmic ray, a synergy of radio astronomy with astroparticle physics. The used particle detector is based on a donation from the dismantled cosmic ray experiment KASCADE at KIT.