New researchers for applied physics

On 12 September, thirteen PicoSEC researchers met in Lyon for the first time, at the project’s kick-off meeting. The meeting was the opportunity for them to get to know each other and start building a fruitful working and human relationship. A hard task awaits them: reaching the 200-picosecond-limit on time resolution in photon detectors. 


The 13 researchers recruited for the PicoSEC project and the organizers of the project, September 2012.

Photon detectors are used in many different fields ranging from high-energy physics calorimetry for the future generation of colliders to the photon time-of-flight technique for the next generation of PET scanners. Within the PicoSEC EU-funded Marie Curie Initial Training Network, 18 Early Stage Researchers and 4 Experienced Researchers are being trained to develop new detection techniques based on very fast scintillating crystals and photo detectors.

In a multi-site project like PicoSEC, in which 11 institutes and companies from 6 European countries are involved, the quality of teamwork is fundamental. At the kick-off meeting the 13 researchers (out of the 22 that will be recruited) had the opportunity to start teaming up. “The kick-off meeting was a multicultural experience in itself,” says Etiennette Auffray, the PicoSEC Network Coordinator. “We have researchers from all over the world, many of them from different cultural backgrounds. They have had an opportunity to meet and get to know each other, laying down the groundwork for their future cooperation.”

The kick-off meeting was followed by two days of training in crystals and scintillation, jointly organized by FiberCryst SA and CERN. “I didn’t expect there to be so much to learn, but I’m glad that I was given this unique opportunity to learn new things,” says Mythra Varun Nemallapudi, a freshly hired PicoSEC researcher at CERN.

The researchers will have many other chances to meet each other again, but the most difficult part, the first meeting, is over. As French gourmets would say, “La mayonnaise a bien pris!”

by Rita Giuffredi, PicoSEC project