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European Nuclear Science and Applications Research


ENSAR is the integrating activity, which took place from September 2010 to December 2014, for European nuclear scientists who are performing research in three of the major subfields addressed by NuPECC: Nuclear Structure, Nuclear Astrophysics and Applications of Nuclear Science. Its core aim is to provide access to seven of the complementary world-class large-scale facilities: GANIL (F), GSI (D), joint LNL-LNS (I), JYFL (FI), KVI (NL), CERN-ISOLDE (CH) and ALTO (F). These facilities provide stable and radioactive ion beams of excellent qualities ranging in energies from tens of keV/u to a few GeV/u. The stable ion beams range from protons to uranium. Radioactive ion beams are produced using the two complementary methods of in-flight fragmentation (IFF) and isotope separation on line (ISOL), so that several hundred isotopes are available for the user.


These facilities will be offering access to a very large, wide and diverse user community. The size of this community of physicists in nuclear structure, nuclear astrophysics, and applications of nuclear science in addition to the staff that is involved in accelerator and detector development and in running the facilities ranges between 2700-3000 scientists and highly qualified engineers according to a recent survey by NuPECC ( The facilities will provide an increased amount of beam time for applications of nuclear techniques, which has been realised during the lifespan of the ENSAR project. In a pioneering step, ENSAR has established an overarching Facility Coordinating Group with the mission to facilitate mutual information, coordination, harmonisation and exchange of best practices between the ENSAR research infrastructures. To enhance the access to these facilities, the community has defined a number of Joint Research Activities (JRAs), using as main criterion scientific and technical promise. These activities deal with novel and innovative technologies to improve the operation of the facilities. They are in general relevant to more than one facility and rely on strong participation of the European university groups.

These activities involve all facets of operation of an accelerator facility starting with the improvement of ECR ion sources to increase the intensity and the energy of stable and radioactive ion beams for physics experiments (ARES). This goes hand in hand with ISOL target technology for the development of new actinide targets, which aims at increasing the intensity and reliability of the delivered exotic radioactive ion beams (RIBs) for the operating European ISOL facilities (ActILab). These two activities are supplemented by an activity to improve the low-energy beam preparation and manipulation of RIBs and to go beyond the state-of-the-art in spectroscopic tools used in studies with RIBs (PREMAS). Experimenting at such facilities requires development of new detection materials and detection systems (INDESYS), general platforms for both simulations of current and future detector set-ups (SiNuRSE) and the development of modern theoretical tools for describing and interpreting experimental results as well as pointing the way ahead for experimental projects (THEXO). In addition, a key activity aims at integrating the laboratories in Central and South-Eastern European countries with those elsewhere in Europe, by developing novel technologies and methodologies of universal benefit that could be used both at these laboratories and elsewhere (EWIRA). These developments will give a strong impetus to these emerging laboratories and their communities and enhance their external use. It was indeed through this activity that use of these facilities became better structured and two of the research infrastructures qualified to be included in an “Integrating Activity” proposal for HORIZON 2020. Furthermore, these activities should attribute particular importance to all RTD work, which might lead to multidisciplinary or industrial applications.

The network activities of ENSAR have been set-up with specific actions to strengthen the communities’ coherence around certain research topics (nuclear astrophysics - ATHENA), to pool resources and to provide instruction courses to users (EGAN - Gamma and Ancillary detectors Network). They foster future cooperation towards achieving high-intensity stable beams (ECOS) and radioactive ion beams (EURISOL NET). They promote foresight studies for new instrumentation and methods and stimulate complementarity. They ensure a broad dissemination of results and stimulate multidisciplinary and application-oriented research at the Research Infrastructures (EFINION). This will be, and not exhaustively, in the fields of radiobiology, medical imaging, space applications and solid-state physics. An outreach activity will be initiated to disseminate ENSAR applications to the public. In addition to these five specific networks, the managing network FISCO insures a smooth running of the integrating activity as a whole in all aspects of technical, scientific, financial, administrative, contractual and legal activities. It aims also at stimulating dissemination of knowledge and outreach activities. It is ENSAR’s top-priority objectives:

# to ensure that the European communities of Nuclear Structure, Nuclear Astrophysics and Applications of Nuclear Science concentrate on the most prominent Joint Research Activities, for further improvements and extensions of the infrastructure facilities,

# to stimulate multidisciplinary and application-oriented research,

# to promote the most needed R&D, as identified by the community, using as main criterion scientific and technical promise, combined with a rather rapid applicability,

# to focus on activities that are in general relevant to more than one facility, and

# to benefit from the R&D potential of the European University groups, often in leading positions.


This project has received funding from the FP7-INFRASTRUCTURES-2010-1 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 262010.