Even after almost one century of its discovery, the atomic nucleus still remains enigmatic! The nucleons in the nucleus are strongly bound, and therefore the nucleus is very reluctant to reveal its secrets so easily. It has to be hammered hard to break into its solid defense – and that is exactly what the experimental nuclear physicists try to do all the time – hit it hard with ‘energetic’ projectiles (light ions like proton, He++ as well as heavy ions like O6,7+, Ne7,8+, etc. ) , detect the observable ‘bruises’ of the collision with innovative ‘detectors’, and interpret the result to find out the secrets of the nucleus.
At VECC, such studies are being carried out for the past three decades using K130 cyclotron. Main research areas covered with K130 cyclotron are: Elastic and inelastic scattering, direct and pre-equilibrium reactions, fusion-fission dynamics, intermediate mass fragment emission, nuclear orbiting/quasi-molecular resonance, gamma-ray spectroscopy and nuclear structure, giant resonance, nuclear Bremsstrahlung, resonance particle spectroscopy, external modification of nuclear decay rate, etc.
We are currently at the doorstep of opening another new and exciting chapter! As soon as the new K500 superconducting cyclotron (typical beam energy ~ 5 – 50 MeV/nucleon or more) is operational, it will open up new and challenging opportunities for carrying out pioneering research in the areas of current interest (i.e., hot nuclei, multi-fragmentation and nuclear liquid-gas phase transition, giant resonances, collectivity and temperature, isospin physics and nuclear equation of state, structure of particle unbound resonances, structure of exotic nuclei etc., to mention a few. Presently, several new, large, state-of-art detector systems and general users’ facilities such as Segmented Horizontal Axis Reaction Chamber (SHARC), 4-pi charged particle detector array, Large Area Modular BaF2 Detector Array (LAMBDA), 4-pi neutron multiplicity detector, neutron time-of-flight detector array, ion trap, etc are being developed (some of them are already commissioned, others are nearing completion) by VECC under the aegis of superconducting cyclotron utilisation project. In the next phase, these detector systems will be augmented with the addition of new features.