Research & Teaching
IRFU is a CEA fundamental research institute located on the CEA center of Saclay . It almost gathers 800 people: 320 physicists (including 150 PhD students and postdocs) doing research on the fundamental laws of the Universe with 243 engineers and 210 technicians by advancing the technologies needed for instrumentation project management. IRFU includes the three disciplines, astrophysics , nuclear physics and particle physics , and approaches in a complementary way the major questions concerning the fundamental laws of the Universe.
What are the elementary components of the Universe?
IRFU plays a dynamic role in ATLAS and LHC CMS experiments in order to test the Standard Model of particle physics, eventually discover the Higgs boson and explore its extensions. With T2K in Japan and Double Chooz in Europe, IRFU is in the race for neutrinos properties.
What is the energetic content of the Universe?
IRFU is involved in experiments pursuing dark matter in a direct way (EDELWEISS) and indirect way (HESS and CTA) as well as in experiments testing dark energy using various probes such as fluctuations in the cosmological background, weak gravitational lensing, baryon acoustic oscillations and supernovae. IRFU plays a leading role in the preparation of the EUCLID mission, major mission for black energy research that has just been selected by ESA as M2 mission
How is the Universe structured?
Study of planets, stars and galaxies formation occupies a substantial part of IRFU astrophysics component with an important role among others in the use of HERSCHEL satellite observations and the construction of average infrared camera for JWST next mission.
What are the origins and structure of particles and nuclei?
Matter under extreme conditions of temperature and density such as they prevailed in the first instants of the Universe is studied thanks to ALICE experiment at LHC; proton internal structure is explored at JLAB and CERN. For the study of superheavy, exotic and deformed nuclei, physicists are involved in several experiments with various accelerators such as GANIL, and in a near future Spiral2 and FAIR.
To perform its scientific program of the infinitely small and infinitely large aspects of our Universe, IRFU has developed large technological skills in accelerator technology , superconducting magnets , detectors, electronics, , space technology , simulation and data processing.
It also applies its know-how in the field of fusion, in therapy imaging and, in a general fashion, in the construction of large-scale instruments, in which IRFU masters high technology.