Underground nuclear astrophysics: Why and how

A. Best, A. Caciolli, Zs. S. Fülöp, G. Gyürky, M. Laubenstein, E. Napolitani, V. Rigato, V. Roca, T. Szücs

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16 Citations (Scopus)


The goal of nuclear astrophysics is to measure cross-sections of nuclear physics reactions of interest in astrophysics. At stars temperatures, these cross-sections are very low due to the suppression of the Coulomb barrier. Cosmic-ray-induced background can seriously limit the determination of reaction cross-sections at energies relevant to astrophysical processes and experimental setups should be arranged in order to improve the signal-to-noise ratio. Placing experiments in underground sites, however, reduces this background opening the way towards ultra low cross-section determination. LUNA (Laboratory for Underground Nuclear Astrophysics) was pioneer in this sense. Two accelerators were mounted at the INFN National Laboratories of Gran Sasso (LNGS) allowing to study nuclear reactions close to stellar energies. A summary of the relevant technology used, including accelerators, target production and characterisation, and background treatment is given.

Original languageEnglish
Article number72
JournalEuropean Physical Journal A
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics

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    Best, A., Caciolli, A., Fülöp, Z. S., Gyürky, G., Laubenstein, M., Napolitani, E., Rigato, V., Roca, V., & Szücs, T. (2016). Underground nuclear astrophysics: Why and how. European Physical Journal A, 52(4), [72]. https://doi.org/10.1140/epja/i2016-16072-7