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LAPP - Laboratoire de Physique des Particules d’Annecy le Vieux

by Yannis Karyotakis - 2 April 2010

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The Laboratoire d’Annecy-le-Vieux de Physique des Particules (LAPP) is a combined CNRS and Université de Savoie unit composed of 32 researchers, 75 ITA (engineers, technicians and administrative staff), 8 faculty and 32 non-permanent staff including 15 students. The annual budget (including salaries) of the laboratory is around 10 M€, originating from the funding agencies and external sources. The AERES report, following the evaluation of the laboratory in February 2010, reported a « well-structured research program…well organized, very competent and motivated technical services ». The AERES awarded LAPP an A+ mark. The laboratory is very actively involved in several large international collaborations working on accelerators (ATLAS and LHCb on the LHC at CERN, BaBar at SLAC in California, OPERA in Gran Sasso) and astroparticle experiments (Virgo, AMS, HESS, CTA). A solid R&D program on large surface MICROMEGAS chambers allowing building a hadronic calorimeter is on-going. The laboratory publishes about 85 scientific and technical papers per year to international journals requiring peer review. The best papers are cited about 250 times after few years. Physicists and research engineers give about 30 talks per year to international conferences. International workshops, collaboration meetings and other scientific events are regularly organised at LAPP.
LAPP has built very significant and large parts of the LHC experiments, 1/3 of the LAr ATLAS calorimeter, the support structures of the LHCb calorimeters, the front-end electronics of the AMS calorimeter, the detection system of VIRGO, the HESS auto-focus and the automated camera unloading mechanism for the 5th telescope, etc. In the past the development of the BGO calorimeter for the L3 experiment at LEP was a major contribution to science and technology. The laboratory has a long tradition on neutrino physics and has participated to pioneering experiments (Bugey, NOMAD, CHOOZ) allowing to build the current neutrino picture. Since few years LAPP has developed an accelerator expertise on sub-nanometer stabilisation and diagnostic sensors.

The laboratory’s skills cover a large scope of domains involving innovative technologies, complex mechanical structure design and optimisation, simulation of particle propagation in matter, scientific and grid computing, ASICS design and realisation. LAPP has well-established relations with technical centres such as MIND (centre de Microtechnologies pour l’Industrie), CETIM (Centre Technique des Industries Mécaniques), with the Arve Industries cluster and the Thésame association, all involved in complex multi-technology assemblies and mechatronics. The laboratory uses an interdisciplinary approach (mechanics, electronics, computing, what is now the basis of mechatronics) in line with the expectations of the last call Equipex where the LAPP has submitted an ambitious project entitled “HoMe” “Hosting Mechatronics Projects”. These previous achievements, coupled with the skills of the scientific and technical teams, place the LAPP at the cutting edge for the future.
The laboratory is heavily involved in higher education. Between 9 and 12 students prepare their PhD thesis at LAPP. Three to four defend their thesis each year. Given the number of HDR physicists, the LAPP could increase the capacity to supervise more students; however the limitation comes from the available funds. At a lower level the laboratory is involved in three different education programmes: Master 1 in Physics of the Université de Savoie, Master 2 “Subatomic Physics and Astroparticles” of the Université Joseph Fourier, and “Fields, Particles and condensed Matter” of the ENS Lyon.
The location of LAPP, 50km from CERN, and the presence of the theory laboratory LAPTh in the same premises, makes the LAPP campus an ideal and very attractive place for people willing to contribute to particle and astroparticle physics. An international centre for high energy physics and astroparticle physics (CIPHEA) is running, jointly with the LAPTh, since 5 years now, funded mainly by the local authorities (Conseil Général de la Haute Savoie) allowing more than 10 senior internationally known visitors to work on all themes of LHC physics, and coach young students and researchers.

See online : Official website