The Research Areas
Work at the Helmholtz Institute Mainz revolves around the exploration of the strong interaction, one of the four fundamental forces of nature. To shed light on the topic from different perspectives, the HIM is divided into six sections.
Some of these sections are dedicated to existing and future experiments, mainly at GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt with the FAIR accelerator facility, which is presently under construction. Other HIM sections focus on the development of new accelerator technologies or work to test and refine the currently accepted theories using supercomputers. All six research sections operate largely autonomously, allowing them to respond flexibly to new requirements and developments. Nevertheless, they cooperate closely with each other and regularly agree on content and research goals.
The ACID section, for example, is developing a novel accelerator for the generation of superheavy atomic nuclei. In doing so, it is creating a highly efficient research tool that will greatly benefit in particular the experimental physicists of the SHE (SuperHeavy Elements) section.
In addition, the ACID section is working on a future expansion stage of the planned HESR high-energy storage ring at the FAIR accelerator complex. This upgrade will enable much more precise experiments at the PANDA detector. The two HIM sections EMP and SPECF are significantly involved in PANDA – and could thus benefit enormously from the planned upgrade. The MAM and SHE sections exchange information inter alia on the development of special ion traps and laser experiments.
The THFL (Theory Floor) section also interacts closely with the other departments. Using sophisticated computer simulations, the THFL specialists are determining the theoretical values of specific particle properties. The experts from the other sections can then use their highly sensitive measuring equipment to examine the extent to which the calculations agree with experiments and whether the theories may require revision.
Thanks to the close cooperation of the six HIM sections, the image that physics provides of the elementary structure of matter can be further sharpened and made ever more precise.