PAC meeting for Particle Physics: NICA implementation and participation in international projects

News, 23 January 2023

Today, the 57th regular meeting of the Programme Advisory Committee for Particle Physics of JINR has been held. Participants of the event were discussing the status of the implementation of the NICA Megascience Project and the participation of the Institute’s scientific groups in experiments at CERN. The technical design of the SPD detector was presented for the first time.

Opening the meeting, PAC Chairman Itzhak Tserruya welcomed new members of the Committee and presented information on the implementation of the recommendations of the previous PAC meeting to the audience. The PAC members heard the information on the JINR Seven-Year Plan for 2024 — 2030 presented by JINR Vice Director Vladimir Kekelidze.

Traditionally, the NICA Project, which is being implemented by many countries on the basis of JINR, was at the centre of the PAC meeting agenda. “Science is the bridge between nations and countries. By all means, we should focus on this thesis proposed in the CP JINR Statement adopted in March 2022,” Itzhak Tserruya highlighted in his comments.

Anatoly Sidorin presented a report on the implementation of the Nuclotron-NICA Project to the audience. The international team of the project has conducted three runs at the accelerator complex, and it is implementing the fourth commissioning cycle at the moment. One of the main tasks of the current commissioning cycle is to debug the power supply system and prepare it for real experimental loads. In November, specialists managed to achieve circulation of xenon ions of high-intensity at the Nuclotron, which was the first in the history of the project. Scientists have been collecting statistics for the BM@N Experiment. Specialists are actively working on all the systems of the NICA Complex. “In my opinion, the main result of the current commissioning cycle is the formation of seven highly qualified groups of specialists who can fully ensure the operation of the complex,” Anatoly Sidorin highlighted in his speech. Another important result is the installation of all dipole magnets in the arches of the collider tunnel. Further installation on straight sections will depend on the completion dates of all engineering work on the collider building. The speaker noted that the technical launch of the whole complex is approximately expected in August-September. The main aim of it will be testing its systems.

Nikolay Agapov, VBLHEP JINR Chief Engineer, reported on the infrastructure developments including the Nuclotron. He noted that specialists are working on the modernisation of the main transformer station. Upon the completion of the work, the station will operate at the capacity of 41 MW fuly meeting the needs of the NICA Complex. At the same time, specialists are modernising the cryogenic system.

Acting Leader of the MPD collaboration Victor Riabov (PNPI) reported on the status of the MPD Experiment. The collaboration is growing and already unites more than 450 participants from 10 countries. The European Physical Journal A has issued the first scientific article authored by the MPD Collaboration. Specialists are working on all the systems of the facility. This year, one of the main tasks will be taking measurements of the magnetic field of the solenoid. The launch of the facility and the start of the data collection are planned in 2024.

The first experiment at NICA — BM@N — is already underway. Its international team is collecting statistics at heavy ion beams. It has already collected about 300 million events. Head of the VBLHEP Sector Mikhail Kapishin presented this information to participants of the meeting. He also highlighted that the international collaboration of the experiment had 184 participants from 10 institutes of three countries at the moment.

The technical design of the SPD experiment was presented for the first time. Leader of the collaboration Alexey Guskov presented information on the main systems of the detector and the status of work to the PAC members. It is expected that its construction will last until 2028. The first stage of the experiment will take place in 2028-2030.

The agenda of the meeting continued with reports on the status of ongoing projects as requested at the previous PAC meeting, namely COMET (Zviad Tsamalaidze) and T2K-II (Yuri Davydov), as well as on the research results obtained by JINR groups in the LHC experiments: ALICE (Boris Batyunya), ATLAS (Ivan Yeletskikh), and CMS (Vladimir Karjavine).

Within the programme of the PAC meeting, poster presentations on research on particle physics by young scientists took place. The PAC members met with the JINR Directorate.

Adoption of the PAC’s recommendations including proposals for the next PAC meeting concluded the event.

BM@N Experiment collecting statistics – JINR Programme Advisory Committee for Particle Physics