Cosmic Rays and Anti-Matter: WiZard-PAMELA and Gamma-400

Wizard - Pamela

WiZard is an international collaboration for cosmic ray physics. Its main scientific goal is to measure the flux and energy spectra of antiprotons and positrons in cosmic radiation and continue the search for primordial antimatter. The importance of this analysis derives from the need to answer certain fundamental questions about the universe and its evolution, and is closely connected with problems of particle physics such as CP/CPT violation and the grand unified theories.

The WiZard-Trieste group is now involved in PAMELA, a satellite-borne experiment that is making long-duration measurements of cosmic radiation over an extended energy range. More specifically, PAMELA measures cosmic-ray antiproton and positron spectra over the largest energy range ever achieved, and searches for antinuclei with unprecedented sensitivity. Furthermore, it measures the light nuclear component of cosmic rays and investigates phenomena connected to solar and earth physics. The apparatus consists of a time-of-flight system, a magnetic spectrometer, an anticoincidence system, an electromagnetic imaging calorimeter, a shower tail catcher scintillator and a neutron detector.

The Trieste group developed the electromagnetic Silicon-Tungsten calorimeter, from design to final construction. Furthermore, it was in charge of designing the functioning of the software of the PAMELA CPU, and led its development and testing. Subsequently, during  2005 and 2006 it played a major role in the testing and integration phases of the PAMELA apparatus with the Russian satellite Resurs-DK1. On the 15th of June 2006, the PAMELA experiment, mounted on the Resurs DK1 satellite, was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome and has been collecting data since July 2006. The Trieste group is in charge of software development and of the scientific data analysis.

The WiZard-Trieste group is also starting a new experiment, GAMMA400, whose main scientific goals are the observation of gamma-ray sources and diffuse emission in the range from 30 MeV up to TeV energies, the measurements of electron and positron fluxes in cosmic rays from 1 GeV to 3 TeV, and high-energy nuclei from H to Fe.


Gamma 400

A large number of problems in physics and astrophysics, such as the nature of dark matter as well as the origin of extragalactic diffuse emission and many others are connected with studies of cosmic-rays and gamma-ray emission. GAMMA-400, a Russian-Italian space mission, could shed light on these subjects. Devoted to gamma-ray astrophysics and cosmic-ray physics, the GAMMA-400 instrument will combine the capability of gamma-ray detection in the energy range 30 MeV - 1 TeV together with the capability of detection of electron, protons and heavier nuclei in the range up to energies near 1 PeV/nucleon. GAMMA-400 will hopefully start to operate in 2017. By that time all the present gamma-ray or cosmic-ray instruments operating in space will be non-operational or at the end of their activity. GAMMA-400 will continue the exploration of the Universe at the highest energies detectable by a satellite with refined sensitivity and improved performance for both gamma-rays and cosmic-rays.

Head of Research Group
Anna Gregorio


Last update: 09-17-2021 - 18:50