Group of Nuclar Physics (GFN)

Departament of Structure of the Matter, Thermal Physics and Electronics
Faculty of Physical Science

As of today, the research team of the group consists of about 16 members belonging to the UCM. From the UCM, 9 members are doctors, including 5 permanent faculty (two full professors, three associate professors), 1 ‘Captación de Talento’ of the local government of Madrid, 1 ‘Ramón y Cajal’ postdoctoral researchers, 2 postdoctoral research associates. Further, the group has 8 students and 1 research management technician.
Since its creation, the group has collaborated with many national and international companies in the medical imaging and medical physics field. As a result of these collaborations and agreements, GFN has licensed and transferred some of the research and development activities performed in the group over the years. For example, the software FIRST developed for a preclinical PET scanner was licensed to Sedecal and commercialized worldwide by GeneralElectric. In 2019, the software SoSTIR that performs full-wave image reconstruction of ultrasound data was licensed to the German company iThera Medical GmbH.

The group hosts a world-class nuclear detector laboratory, to evaluate scintillators, light detections systems, electronics, time coincidence, alpha, beta and gamma radiation. Electronic pulse analysis and digitizers up to 10 Gs and 16 bits and DAQ systems and computers to analyze data are available. The group has also developed simulation software for nuclear detectors, PET detectors, preclinical and clinical whole PET systems. The group has established also a nano-assays laboratory, 3D printing workshop, sample positioning tools for irradiation. GFN manages several large computers employed to do simulations of PET systems and image reconstruction. The group has also access to several small scale Linux servers with typically 32GB of RAM and Tesla graphics processors.

Developments in our understanding of nuclear physics and nuclear properties, and related technologies such as radiation detectors, accelerators, computing or data analysis, hold strong potential for translation into applications to society. Nuclear medicine and particle therapy are salient examples of applied nuclear physics research. The Nuclear Physics Group (GFN) has a solid research record in theory, experiments and applications of nuclear physics. In the last 15 years it has focused into the exploitation of the synergies of these three aspects. This led to new research lines and to an intense knowledge transfer to national and international companies. The project will cover activities in one or more of the following areas:
1. Experimental nuclear structure studies of nuclei at ISOLDE@CERN and other world-class facilities using decay and reactions, aiming to understand the evolution of shell structure far off stability and the development of collective effects, and the role of nuclear properties in astrophysical nucleo-synthesis scenarios.
2. State-of-the-art nuclear instrumentation and detection techniques, signal processing and data acquisition, for nuclear physics experiments and applications.
3. Nuclear structure and nuclear reactions models.
4. Radiotherapy, especially particle therapies and experiments in FLASH radiotherapy and radiobiology.
5. Exploration of new nuclear imaging modalities.
6. Nanodevices applied to medical imaging and radiation therapy.
7. The nuclear physics input in neutrino physics, disentangling nuclear effects in neutrino oscillation experiments, double beta decay and dark matter searches.
8. Machine Learning in Physics – Neural networks and deep-learning applied to complex problems in data analysis and medical physics.