2nd Call
Announcement of Results of 2nd ASPERA Common Call for Proposals Print E-mail
ASPERA is pleased to announce the results of its first common call for proposals for R&D and design studies to support the realisation of future Astroparticle infrastructures identified in the ASPERA Roadmap. This call was targeted towards future high energy cosmic ray and neutrino mass experiments. The proposals received in response to this call were assessed against the call criteria and will be funded from the virtual common pot created from contributions from the national funding agencies participating in the call.
The three projects that will be funded are:
  • AugerNext – innovative research studies for the next generation ground-based ultra-high energy cosmic ray experiment

AugerNext is a proposed northern hemisphere cosmic ray observatory, to complement and extend the existing Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina. Findings from the Pierre Auger Observatory’s array of surface detectors and telescopes have shown that a next generation experiment needs to be considerably larger, have increased composition sensitivity and should cover the full sky. AugerNext aims to discover the sources of the highest energy cosmic rays and further illuminate the workings of the universe at the most extreme energies.

This project aims to contribute to the specification of the AugerNext facility by investigating new techniques that have the potential to increase the sensitivity of the array, to reduce costs or to allow the array to be installed at sites which presently have physical difficulties. The techniques to be studied include radio and microwave detection, new generation photo-sensors, development of data communication techniques and time-sensitive muon detectors.

> Groups in Germany, The Netherlands, Poland, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Romania will be funded to work on this project. A maximum funding of €1.8M will be provided.

  • ISOTTA (Isotope Trace Analysis) – advanced techniques for the production, purification and radio-purity analysis of isotopically enriched sources for double beta decay

Neutrinoless double beta decay experiments aim to determine the absolute neutrino mass scale and discover whether neutrinos are Dirac or Majorana particles (their own antiparticles). Next generation neutrinoless double beta decay experiments will explore the inverted hierarchy region of the neutrino mass spectrum, but to do so they will require in the order of 1 ton of isotopically enriched material. This project aims to give the next generation experiments the information that they need in order to carry out this large scale procurement of material. It is anticipated that the information will be required in the next three years.

This project will study up to six isotopes. It will locate and document the availability of source materials and develop techniques to assess their radiopurity. It will also study the effectiveness of purification techniques. The project is a co-ordinated approach to a problem that will be relevant to several future neutrinoless double beta decay experiments.

> Groups in France, Italy and Poland will be funded to work on this project with a maximum funding of €487k.

  • SILENT – low background and low noise techniques for double beta decay physics

This project will address a number of problems common to all neutrinoless double beta decay experiments. It will build on expertise gained in the GERDA double beta decay experiment. GERDA is installed in the Gran Sasso laboratory in Italy and is currently moving into its data-taking phase.

GERDA operates with bare Germanium crystals immersed in liquid Argon. The liquid both brings the crystals to the required low temperature and shields them from surrounding background sources.

This project aims to improve or develop new low noise and low background techniques for double beta experiments that make use of noble liquids or Germanium detectors. It will study the development of ultra-low background front end electronics and contacts on Germanium detectors, test photosensor devices to read the scintillation light produced by the passage of particles in the liquid Argon, and study the mobility of ions in the liquid.

The results will be relevant to neutrinoless double beta decay experiments such as the planned future upgrade of GERDA. Some of the topics studied might also be of interest to dark matter search experiments.

> Groups in Italy, Poland and Switzerland will work on this project. A maximum funding of €567k will be provided.