Investigations of the properties of the forces acting between the constituents of atomic nuclei - protons and neutrons - still lie at heart of nuclear physics, despite the vast amount of knowledge accumulated since the discovery of the atomic nucleus in 1911. These forces are responsible for the existence of all atomic nuclei. They determine the mechanisms of nuclear reactions and decay processes, including those crucial to nuclear power.
Few-nucleon systems are an ideal laboratory for testing nuclear forces. For such systems we can rigorously solve the fundamental equations (Schrödinger, Lippmann-Schwinger, Faddeeev) which provide a path from the interactions between nucleons to the properties of the nuclei (binding energy, size, mass and charge distribution) and to probabilities of various nuclear reactions.
In systems comprising three or more nucleons there appear not only pair-wise interactions but also multi-nucleon forces. The role of the three-nucleon force is of particular importance and gaining full knowledge of its nature is one of our most important research objectives.
Rigorous solutions of equations that incorporate models of nuclear interactions are used by us not only to describe processes within pure nuclear systems but also to study the interactions of electrons, photons, pions, muons and neutrinos with few-nucleon systems. In our research we use supercomputers containing tens of thousands of processors, and our calculations serve to plan experiments and analyze experimental results in many research centers including HIGS (Durham, USA), JLab (Newport News, USA), MAMI (Mainz, Germany), RIKEN (Wako, Japan), RCNP (Osaka, Japan) and Cyclotron Center Bronowice.
Currently we focus on the use of the latest nuclear forces and current operators, derived from the Chiral Effective Field Theory, closely linked to QCD - the fundamental theory of strong interactions.
Research in our department is carried out partly in the framework of the international LENPIC project and in a bilateral collaboration with many scientific centers around the world, including Ruhr University (Bochum, Germany), Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kitakyushu, Japan), Forschungszentrum Jülich (Germany), University of Pisa (Italy), and INFN-Pisa (Italy).