Laboratori Nazionali del Sud

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PON Research and Innovation 2014-2020
POTLNS Project Code PIR01_00005

Applicant: Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN)
Operating Unit: Laboratori Nazionali del Sud (LNS)

The POTLNS project - an Italian acronym standing for the upgrading of the research infrastructure of the Laboratori Nazionali del Sud aimed at the production of high intensity ion beams - consists of a set of upgrade actions of existing and operating devices designed for the basic research in Nuclear Physics. At the end of this upgrade, it will be possible to perform experiments of great interest for the international scientific community, thus allowing the LNS research infrastructure to place itself on an excellence level typical of other high-profile European research laboratories.

The POTLNS project has a duration of 32 months starting from June 14, 2019.

The Italian Ministry for Education, University and Research, (Directorial Decree n. 888 of May 05, 2019) has decided that the POTLNS project is admitted to the full grant of the permitted expense relative to the single goods, for a total amount equal to 19,352,300.00 €. The funding is taken from the PON Research and Infrastructure 2014-2020.


The final objective of POTLNS project is to upgrade the INFN Laboratori Nazionali del Sud research infrastructure, in order to increase the intensity by two orders of magnitude with respect to the actual current value, for the ion beams having mass number lower than 40 and energies between 15 and 70 MeV/A. The high intensity ion beams will be used in Nuclear Physics experiments for studying rare phenomena. In particular, the subject of the scientific research is the study of the neutrino-less beta decay by means of double charge exchange reactions between ions (NUMEN project), which is an important instrument for a better understanding of the neutrino physics. Another relevant research objective is the study of the nuclear matter at the Fermi energy in extreme conditions, by means of reactions between ions in which the projectiles are radioactive nuclei, far away from the valley of stability. The particle accelerator and the experimental devices, required for performing the above-mentioned research activities, are already operating at Laboratori Nazionali del Sud, but they operate at a particle beam intensity of 1012 pps, corresponding to a maximum power of about 100 W. The intensity needed for performing the above-mentioned experiments in reasonable time, because of the rare phenomena involved, is 100 times higher that the actual one, amounting to 1014 pps for a maximum power of 10 kW. Hence, a lot of the particle accelerator components and experimental devices must be upgraded in order to operate at this high intensity, in particular for the Superconducting Cyclotron, for the in-flight production of radioactive beams facility and for the MAGNEX experimental apparatus, which is the detector apparatus for the NUMEN experiment.

Work Packages

The POTLNS project is composed of three Work Packages (WP).

WP1: Upgrade of the Superconducting Cyclotron
The upgrade of the Superconducting Cyclotron is based on the application of a new extraction method different from the current one. The main limitation on the ion beam power that can be extracted in the current configuration is due to the extraction system, based on two electrostatic deflectors. Such limitation can be overcome using the extraction by stripping for ions with mass number A < 40.

WP2: FRAISE: Upgrade of the system for the in-flight production of radioactive beams
The upgrade of the facility for the production of radioactive beams by fragmentation consists in the installation of a new fragment separator, called FRAISE, able to operate with a high intensity primary beam in an area where it can be installed a shielding bunker. The new line, relative to the separator, will be also able to transport stable ion beams very efficiently, guaranteeing an energy spread reduction below 0.1%.

WP3: Upgrade of MAGNEX experimental apparatus
The upgrade of the MAGNEX experimental apparatus is necessary for working with ion beams having a power up to 10 kWatt, which pass through the spectrometer and must be dissipated, after inducing the nuclear reaction of interest, on a beam dump conveniently shielded, without producing a background noise that may affect the measurements.

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