The main focus of Astrocent is to conduct research in science and technology in the areas of particle astrophysics that deal with exploring the hidden Universe. It is known that most of the content of the Universe is still invisible to us due to its exceedingly feeble interactions with ordinary matter that our detectors are made of. A historical discovery of gravitational waves in 2015 provided us with another example that a key to shed light on the invisible Universe is to construct detectors that will be sufficiently sensitive to detect what was previously beyond reach. These days, this is a formidable task that requires an extraordinary and coordinated effort of researchers — physicists and engineers — in developing a whole range of aspects of complex detectors and data taking and processing techniques. This is what researchers at Astrocent aim to do.
Currently at Astrocent there are six research groups working on different themes:
- SiPM Systems for Astroparticle Physics and Medical Physics (leader: Dr Marcin Kuźniak);
- Seismic Sensors (leader: Professor Tomasz Bulik);
- Electronics and Data Acquisition and Processing (leader: Dr Mariusz Suchenek);
- Ultrapure SiPMs and Associated Readout Electronics (leader: Dr Masayuki Wada);
- Scientific Computing & Information Technology (leader: Professor Piotr Gawron);
- Particle Astrophysics (leader: Professor Leszek Roszkowski).
Astrocent’s two main physics themes are dark matter in the Universe and gravitational waves. In the first we conduct theoretical investigations into the nature of dark matter and participate in the DarkSide and DEAP experiments, as well as the emerging Global Liquid Argon Dark Matter Programme. In the technological and programming aspects we will also collaborate also with the neutrinoless double-beta decay experiment and with the Jagiellonian University J-PET project. We are also part of the Advanced Virgo Experiment detecting gravitational waves from space where we specialise in dealing with seismic noise. We aim to advance this further with the forthcoming Einstein Telescope Project.
Astrocent’s strategic foreign partner is the Astroparticle and Cosmology Laboratory located in Paris. At present our other main partners are: Princeton University, Gran Sasso Science Institute, McDonald Institute, Queen’s University, Carleton University, SNOLAB, as well as European Gravitational Organization. Locally we currently collaborate with Warsaw University of Technology and the National Centre for Nuclear Research.