In order to carry out research at the forefront of fundamental nuclear science, our community of nuclear scientists profits from the diverse range of large research infrastructures existing in Europe that can supply different species of ion beams and energies. In this way we can learn how the nuclear forces arising from the interaction between the building blocks of neutrons and protons manifest themselves in the rich structure of nuclei, and how different isotopes of elements are synthesised in primeval stellar processes. Our community also has a long tradition of applying state-of-the-art developments in nuclear instrumentation to other research fields (e.g. archaeology) and to benefit humanity (e.g. medical imaging).
The large nuclear research infrastructures that exist in Europe are complementary in their provision of beams and address different aspects of nuclear structure. These European nuclear physics facilities are world-class and excel in comparison with facilities elsewhere in the world. Furthermore, the vibrant European nuclear physics community has made great efforts in the past to make the most efficient use of these facilities by developing the most advanced and novel equipment needed to pursue the excellent scientific programmes proposed at them. This has been done under the auspices of NuPECC (Nuclear Physics European Collaboration Committee) and drawing support from previous EC framework programmes.
This community strives to do the same in the future and has delineated the steps needed to pursue coherent research programmes at these facilities. This was done within the framework of the recent Long-Range Plan (LRP) of NuPECC “Perspectives for Nuclear Physics Research in Europe in the Coming Decade and Beyond” which has been published in 2004. In this LRP, NuPECC addressed future perspectives in six major subfields of research in nuclear physics and re-emphasised the role of the European Network of complementary largescale facilities where past achievements and future perspectives for research in nuclear physics are excellent. In this LRP are also recommendations for future Pan-European facilities.
ENSAR is the integrating activity for European nuclear scientists who are performing research in three of these major subfields: Nuclear Structure, Nuclear Astrophysics and Applications of Nuclear Science. Its core aim is to provide access to seven of the complementary world-class large-scale facilities: GSI (D), GANIL (F), joint LNL-LNS (I), JYFL (FI), KVI (NL), CERN-ISOLDE (CH) and ALTO (F). These facilities provide stable and radioactive ion beams of excellent qualities ranging in energies from tens of keV/u to a few GeV/u. The stable ion beams range from (polarised) protons to uranium. Radioactive ion beams are produced using the two complementary methods of inbeam fragmentation and isotope separation on line (ISOL), so that several hundred isotopes are available for the user.
These facilities will be offering access to a very large, wide and diverse user community. The size of this community of physicists in nuclear structure, nuclear astrophysics, and applications of nuclear science in addition to the staff that is involved in accelerator and detector development and in running the facilities ranges between 2700-3000 scientists and highly qualified engineers according to a recent survey by NuPECC. The facilities will provide an increased amount of beam time for applications of nuclear techniques.