DESY and European XFEL intend to intensively enhance cooperation with JINR

News, 02 March 2021

On 24 February, a meeting of JINR representatives with representatives of the largest physical research centre of Germany DESY and the project of the X-Ray Free-Electron Laser European XFEL was held as a video conference.

Director of the Institute Grigory Trubnikov headed the JINR delegation. Chairman of the Desy Board of Directors Helmut Dosch and Chairman of the Management Board of European XFEL Robert Feidenhans´l headed the German party. Representatives of JINR, DESY and European XFEL management, as well as representatives of scientific laboratories and departments, also took part in the event. The meeting was organized to exchange current information of the parties on the scientific results and progress with major research fields, as well as with the implementation of large-scale infrastructure projects, such as NICA, PETRA IV, and others. The parties also discussed cooperation areas for upcoming years in the fields of digitalisation and scientific computing, particle physics, astroparticle physics, and accelerator research.

JINR Vice-Director Boris Sharkov spoke about the milestones of the meeting, “Yesterday’s meeting with representatives of DESY, one of the key scientific centres of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, as well as with participants of the German project of the X-RAY Free-Electron Lazer European XFEL was held at the initiative of our German colleagues. The reason for such interest in cooperation enhancement is the current active and successful JINR development, which is the focus of attention of our colleagues from Germany. Moreover, DESY and XFEL representatives see how fruitful our cooperation with FAIR/GSI is and an extensive cooperation programme with the BMBF.

The legal basis for building cooperation links is the framework agreement with DESY signed in 2019 which indicates the main fields of our cooperation. DESY and JINR have been successfully working together for a long time in the areas of scientific-technical cooperation and education. These contacts are a good basis for a new step forward. In fact, this meeting aimed at agreeing on priority topics of the cooperation and filling this framework agreement with particular projects.

They include digitalisation and scientific computing, particle physics in which DESY is the recognized European leader, astrophysics, condensed matter physics. Both JINR and the German party made reports on each of the realms. The exchange of information turned out to be compelling, and the whole meeting was very fruitful. The format of the meeting was originally planned as a traditional exchange of current information but then the event shifted to a purely constructive discussion. Each of the speakers not only presented an overview of the scientific work done on the topic but also made practical proposals for joint activities in the future. Scientists directly engaged in ongoing scientific projects took part in the event along with the DESY and XFEL leaders. I would like to note that our German colleagues were pleasantly surprised by the wide range and the high level of our studies, as well as by the capabilities of our scientific infrastructure.

German colleagues were very enthusiastic about our progress in the fields of computing: these are the success of the Laboratory of Information Technologies JINR, the development of our IT infrastructure, quantum computing, and robotics. DESY Director Helmut Dosch specified all these as mandatory areas for future joint projects.

We presented information about the NICA complex, the MPD and SPD experiments in the fields of particle physics. In this regard, it is important to note that despite the difference between our accelerators (DESY has electron accelerator whereas our NICA accelerates hadrons), our detectors have still a lot in common. So, there was a clear interest in the technology of high-resolution detectors with high resistance to radiation loads. Moreover, we had a vivid discussion of such fields of mutual interest as machine learning for accelerator and detector control. The SPD put forward proposals for joint work.

We also presented an overview of all our experiments on particle astrophysics, first of all, the Baikal-GVD project, as well as the JINR participation in the creation of the TAIGA gamma-ray observatory. German colleagues highly evaluated the progress of our neutrino telescope on Lake Baikal, which is as large as IceCube in Antarctica. In their opinion, Baikal-GVD should become an integral part of the global network of neutrino telescopes, which includes the Mediterranean neutrino telescope KM3Net together with IceCube. As a perspective, we are talking about the most interesting field, the so-called multi-messenger systems that are now a new trend in modern astrophysics. They provide an opportunity to register the same observed cosmic event with tremendous accuracy and synchronization but using different methods, namely by using gamma and neutrino telescopes and even by gravitational interferometers. The combination of such multi-messenger systems is called AMPEL – Alert Management, Photometry and Evaluation of Lightcurves. Our German colleagues expressed readiness to facilitate the entry of the Baikal-GVD and TAIGA projects into the global surveillance system, and this is certainly important and interesting for us.

Our partners also showed their considerable interest in such a device as our inclinometer and expressed their wish to install such inclinometers at the accelerator in DESY. Furthermore, they made a proposal to JINR to join the European Association for Gravitational-Wave Research and corresponding experiments, including the future project Einstein@Home. This is a very compelling suggestion. We can take part in these activities not only with our inclinometer but also in detection and data processing as far as our level certainly makes it possible.

Participants listened to our reports on condensed matter physics and the operation of our unique reactor IBR-2 with great interest. Our colleagues from the German project of the X-Ray Free-Electron Laser XFEL have a special programme on biology and life science. As a result, the idea to develop a new cooperation direction in the fields of radiobiology was conceived.

In addition, the German party noted at the meeting its interest in our educational capabilities for young scientists, and their particular interest was the new summer school DD (Dubna – Darmstadt), which is a joint initiative of JINR and our partners from FAIR/GSI with the support of the BMBF.

To sum up, I can firmly say that the result of this meeting exceeded expectations. German colleagues have a keen interest in the Institute. A large number of exciting projects have been planned, and we are ready for further practical steps. Participants selected coordinators of joint subprogrammes from the speakers. Their task will be to formulate particular projects to base on when moving forward. Moreover, it was decided to hold such meetings regularly in the future.”