ChETEC-INFRA: research infrastructures for Nuclear Astrophysics

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ChETEC-INFRA (Chemical Elements as Tracers of the Evolution of the Cosmos - Infrastructure) is a project funded by the EU with a four-year budget of 5 million euros, within Horizon 2020. ChETEC-INFRA is coordinated by Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) in Germany. The PI of the project is PD Dr. Daniel Bemmerer. ChETEC-INFRA involves 32 institutions from 18 European nations and is networked with nuclear astrophysics communities in the United States, China and Japan. Transnational access (TA) to infrastractures in the scope of ChETEC-INFRA includes three distinct types of facilities to serve a unique goal - the study of the creation of the chemical elements.

TA, as one of the pillars of ChETEC-INFRA, is provided by 13 facilities within the network. Facilities with TA include Astronuclear Laboratories, Astronuclear High-Performance Computing, and Astronuclear Telescopes. The infrastructures networked range from the Nordic Optical Telescope on the Canary Islands to medium-sized telescopes in the Czech Republic (the Perek 2m Telescope), Lithuania, and Bulgaria. Nuclear laboratories allow to study element genesis by charged particle, neutron, or photon induced reactions, studying rare reactions with high beam intensities and high sensitivity, including an underground laboratory and accelerator mass spectrometry. A computing cluster with enough power to address nucleosynthesis in a massive star completes the list of infrastructures.

The coordinator of the project on Czech side is the head of the Stellar Department, Dr. Brankica Kubátová. The TA manager is Dr. Marek Skarka and deputy TA manager is Dr. Tiina Liimets. The largest Czech telescope located at the observatory in Ondřejov will contribute with observations of various types of objects. This contribution will help to achive one of the main aim of the project, to understand how the elements of the periodic table were created that will also allow us to better understand the evolution of the Universe.

Dr. Tiina Liimets, Dr. Marek Skarka, and Dr. Brankica Kubátová (from left to right) in front of the dome of the Perek 2m Telescope in Ondřejov.

ChETEC-INFRA will overcome existing barriers to the advancement of these studies: in particular, access to nuclear astrophysics research infrastructures will be unified using a new integrated web portal; targets and detectors for nuclear reactions, software tools for open-source nucleosynthesis and new three-dimensional models for the analysis of stellar spectra will be developed.

ChETEC-INFRA will provide the community with the tools needed to address key issues on solar fusion, nucleosynthesis by neutron capture and explosive stellar processes. In a combined approach designed to facilitate and increase accessibility, synergies and training, the large amount of transnational access provided will make it possible projects that exploit at least two different types of infrastructure. Within ChETEC-INFRA, the data will be archived and cataloged for long-term sustainability beyond the end of the project and for their usability in open access.