» Home 

Welcome to the Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik (MPIK, Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics) in Heidelberg, one of 84 institutes and research establishments of the  Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (Max Planck Society). The MPIK does experimental and theoretical basic research in the fields of Astroparticle Physics (crossroads of particle physics and astrophysics) and Quantum Dynamics (many-body dynamics of atoms and molecules).


Latest news

Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source

Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics. [Nature Photonics, April 16 2018]

 more ...

In quest of ultracold antihydrogen

Detail of the detection setup used for laser spectroscopy on lanthanum anions.

Some 15 years after the first production of low-energy antihydrogen at CERN, several experiments at the Antiproton Decelerator are gearing up to precisely measure its properties for tests of matter-antimatter symmetry (CPT) and to determine the gravitational acceleration of antimatter. A challenge that all these experiments are facing is the need for the coldest antihydrogen possible in order to reach ultimate precision levels. Currently antihydrogen is produced at hundreds of kelvin and a colder ensemble (about 0.5 kelvin) can only be produced by selecting the slowest anti-atoms, involving heavy losses. Researchers from MPIK have been pursuing a novel technique that allows the formation of antihydrogen many orders of magnitude colder by pre-cooling one of its constituents, the antiprotons, with laser-cooled negative ions. Negative atomic ions are fragile systems with low binding energies and few, if any, excited states. Until now there are only a few of them which have been found to allow fast transitions between bound states, as required for laser cooling. The most promising candidate to date, the lanthanum anion, has now been fully characterized by a combination of high-resolution spectroscopy and theoretical calculations. In the experimental work, researchers from MPIK measured the transition rate of the potential laser cooling transition and found that at about 10 kHz it is high enough for efficient laser cooling. The theoretical calculations on branching ratios and transition rates show that the transition is closed to a very high degree, i.e., that the excited state decays back to the original ground state. This work thus demonstrates that lanthanum anions are a viable path towards the production of ultracold antihydrogen.


Images of research at MPIK

  • Artist‘s view of the reaction between protonated water and electrons in the CSR
  • Copper strips distribute the cold to the experimental vacuum chambers of the CSR
  • The atomic mass of a bound electron is balanced by QED contributions in increasing order, playing the role of a precision mass set
  • Electrodes of a Penning trap
  • MOCCA, the microcalorimeter detector for the Cryogenic Storage Ring CSR
  • The emergence of a spectral line (Fano profile)
  • „Chirped mirror“ arrangement for ultrashort Laser pulses
  • Crystal of laser-cooled ions in a cryogenic Paul trap
  • A reaction microscope
  • Wave function for two electrons in doubly excited helium
  • Principle of the generation of an X-ray frequency comb by means of a laser-controlled gas
  • Schematic representation of interactions in extremely intense laser pulses: pair creation and spin-dependent trajectories
  • Illustration of laser control in atoms and nuclei
  • A laser-induced splitting gradient is used to store the complete frequency spectrum of a broadband pulse in a resonant medium
  • Tunnel ionization of a highly charged ion at relativistic laser intensities
  • Cameras for CTA: CHEC for small telescopes in front of FlashCam for medium-sized telescopes
  • View of the full H.E.S.S. array with the four 12 m telescopes and the new 28 m H.E.S.S. II in the centre
  • Image of a particle cascade viewed simultaneously by all five H.E.S.S. telescopes
  • One of the "outrigger" tanks in front of the main detector array of the High Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) observatory
  • A proton-lead collision observed by the LHCb detector
  • Integration of the acrylic vessels in the Double Chooz detector
  • The four germanium detectors of the neutrino experiment CONUS inside their shielding
  • Elementary particles of the Standard Model and their hypothetical supersymmetric and seesaw partners
  • The GERDA detector strings with Nylon shielding and optical fibre
  • The upper photomultiplier array for the XENON1T experiment searching for Dark Matter
  • Annihilation tracks of antiprotons in an emulsion detector
  • Gold-plated mirror for a novel detector module in mid-infrared at the Cryogenic Trap for Fast ion beams (CTF).
  • Illustration of the rotational symmetry of an octahedron, used to construct models for fermion mixing


Gammastrahlungsblitze aus Plasmafäden

Neuartige hocheffiziente und brillante Quelle für...


Kirsten Schnorr ist Physikerin der Woche

Seit Januar 2018 stellt der Arbeitskreis Chancengleichheit...


Auf der Suche nach ultrakaltem Antiwasserstoff

Rund 15 Jahre nach der ersten Herstellung von...