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Astroparticle Physics at INFN Padova

The activities of Gruppo 2 in Padova span a wide range of topics: gravitational waves, the properties of neutrinos from accelerators or nuclear reactors, from the Earth, the Sun, from SuperNovae or cosmic rays. We search for new particles (the “axion”), tiny anomalies in the theory of general relativity or the existence of particular radioactive “neutrino-less” beta decays. We make astronomy with photons of the highest energies and we map galaxies to shed some light on the so-called “dark energy”.

Astroparticle physics research activities at INFN are coordinated on national scale by CSN2. Below you can find a list of the local research activities in which Padova is involved.


is a large observatory at the Canary islands dedicated to the study of high energy gamma rays from the universe. High energy gamma rays are messengers of some of the most powerful objects in the universe, like black holes and supernove, and can be used to test physics laws in extreme conditions of energy and gravity. The telescope is a gigantic array of mirrors detecting the faint light that is emitted by cosmic ray particles as they travel through the atmosphere.   More info
Credits to Alice Donini for the background picture.
Local coordinator: Mosé Mariotti


is an experiment located at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Assergi, Italy. Its goal is to unveil the fundamental nature of the neutrino by checking the existence of a very peculiar radioactive decay of Tellurium, where only two electrons and nothing else are emitted. It is also renowned as the coldest meter cube of the Universe!   More info
Local coordinator: Luca Taffarello


is an immense detector being built in the USA (the largest ever built with liquid argon) to understand if neutrinos and their antiparticles have equal or different behaviours. This might reveal the mechanism which lead to the fact that in the present universe matter is largely dominant over anti-matter. Moreover, DUNE will definitely determine the structure of the neutrino masses.   More info
Local coordinator: Luca Stanco

Einstein Telescope

is the next generation detector for gravitational waves. It will consist of an underground interferometer with a triangular shape with sides of the length of 10 km. One of the possible building sites is the very quiet seismic environment of east Sardinia near the Sos Enattos mine.   More info
Local coordinator: Jean Pierre Zendri


is a project aiming to create a new kind of neutrino source with an excellent control of the intensity. It is funded by the prestigious ERC. The challenging idea of ENUBET is to transform the very “hot” region where neutrinos are produced in a large, low-cost particle detector to “count” how many neutrinos are emitted.   More info
Local coordinators: Andrea Longhin, Fabio Pupilli


is an ESA satellite mission that will produce the most precise map of visible and dark matter so far to study the expansion of the Universe and the nature of dark energy. The map will be produced measuring the redshift and weak lensing effect of billions of galaxy. The launch will be in fall 2022.   More info
Local coordinator: Stefano Dusini


is a satellite for high-energy gamma-ray astronomy. It has been operating successfully since 2008 collecting photons in a broad energy range. It provides an unprecedented view of high energy phenomena from the Solar System to the farthest reaches of the cosmos.   More info
Local coordinator: Riccardo Rando


is an experiment located at the Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso in Italy. Its goal is to unveil the nature of the neutrino, by checking the existence of a very peculiar radioactive decay of 76Ge, where only two electrons and nothing else are emitted.   More info
Local coordinator: Riccardo Brugnera


This detector is the first large-scale demonstration of the capabilities of imaging detectors for neutrinos made with Liquid Argon first proposed in 1977 by Carlo Rubbia. After operating at Gran Sasso it is starting measurements at Fermilab in Chicago where it is being used to possibly discover a new kind of neutrino – even more elusive than the ones we already know.   More info
Local coordinator: Alberto Guglielmi


The state-of-the-art large liquid scintillator detector for neutrino physics, JUNO, will measure with unprecedented precision the energy of neutrinos produced from two large nuclear power plants, each at 53 km distance. It will shed light on how the masses of the three known neutrinos are arranged (the so-called “mass hierarchy”).   More info
Local coordinator: Alberto Garfagnini


studies the physics of gravitation by measuring with extreme precision the distance between the Earth and other celestial bodies. It uses as physical observable the time of flight of laser pulses that are sent with telescopes and reflected by retroreflectors installed on satellites in orbit, on the Moon and on Martian rovers.   More info
Local coordinator: Paolo Villoresi


An intriguing candidate for the dark matter puzzle is the so-called axion. QUAX, installed at the National Laboratory in Legnaro, is checking whether these light but potentially very abundant particles permeate our space. It uses magnetic spheres placed inside a very intense electro-magnetic field inside a copper conductor excited with radio waves.   More info
Local coordinator: Gianni Carugno


studies how neutrinos change their kind (“flavour”) as they travel through 295 km from the Pacific coast up to the Japanese alps. There, in the core of a mountain, a gigantic cylindrical tank of ~40x40x40 m3 called Super-Kamiokande filled with water and very sensible detectors of light measures the neutrino characteristics.   More info
Local coordinator: Gianmaria Collazuol


is capable of detecting gravitational wave signals of events such as the merger of two black holes from the most remote regions of the Universe. It operates in Cascina (Pisa) and uses the multiple reflections and interference of a powerful laser beam that is kept bouncing in a 3 km long L-shaped structure.  More info
Local coordinator: Livia Conti