FATIMA-NuPNET is a project funded in the first call for transnational joing activities within NuPNET, the ERA-NET for Nuclear Physics Infrastructures http://www.nupnet-eu.org.
The project aims at the development of advanced Fast Timing Arrays with novel scintillators and photosensors.
The determination of nuclear lifetimes of excited nuclear states provides a model-independent method of determining nuclear transition rates, which are of paramount importance in nuclear structure studies. The ultra fast timing method makes use of electronic coincidences between fast scintillator signals for the determination of level lifetimes in the range from ~1 ps to ~30 ns from the time difference between the populating and de-exciting radiation.
New technologies based on novel scintillation materials and photo-sensors are essential for the development of this technique and its full implementation at nuclear research infrastructures, both for decay and in beam studies. With this project we aim at putting together European expertise and at developing the technological facets of this field, from the detectors to the signal analysis. The objective is to perform R&D on new gamma detector technologies for nuclear physics based on new scintillation materials and photo-sensors in order to build the future state-of-the-art fast timing array, in particular for FAIR and SPIRAL2, the nuclear structure research infrastructures selected on the ESFRI list.

Objectives and expected outcome

1. To identify possible cost-effective solutions for high granularity fast timing arrays by investigating the properties of new scintillating materials available now or in short term. We aim also at defining the optimum size, shape and crystal properties (i.e. doping, reflectors, coupling) in order to successfully build efficient fast timing arrays.
2. To assess the performance of fast photomultipliers existing in the market with commercially available scintillators, to optimize the design of photomultipliers for our specific goals in contact with the manufactures and to develop suitable voltage dividers for fast timing applications.
3. To deliver a test assembly of scintillator/photosensor based on LaBr3(Ce) or new scintillators with photosensors matched to these crystals.
4. To explore fast beta detectors with position sensitivity and to test them at existing facilities, to optimize the main detector features using Monte Carlo simulation, including the time response.
5. To investigate the origin of background by employing different geometries, data acquisition triggers, and Compton suppression shields. To design and prototype a viable option for background suppression, leading to enhanced timing capabilities of fast-timing arrays.
6. To explore possibilities with new faster waveform digitizers for the processing of fast-timing data, and to assess the performance in terms of energy and time resolution with fast scintillators.
7. To optimize the main detector features using state-of-the-art Monte Carlo codes.
8. To identify and evaluate scintillator-photosensor combinations for TOF-PET applications in preclinical PET scanners and test the time response of the optimal units.