Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research

The universe in the lab


The Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR), one of the largest international research facilities in the world is coming up at Darmstadt, Germany. About 3000 scientists from 50 countires will study the structure of matter and the evolution of the universe from the Big Bang to the present using this facility. The entire research activities at FAIR are subdivided into four experimental programs namely Compressed Baryonic Matter (CBM), Nuclear Structure, Astrophysics and Reactions (NUSTAR), Atomic, Plasma Physics and Applications (APPA) and Antiproton Annihilation at Darmstadt (PANDA). The civil construction for the state of the art ring accelerator of 1,100 m circumference as well as the experimental and computational facilities is in full swing on 20 hectares of land.

Artist's impression of the FAIR showing the existing facility (GSI) at the left side

Latest construction site

India as the third largest contributor among the nine countries (others are France, Germany, Poland, Romania, Russia, Sweden and Slovenia) that are working as partners to build this facility has major roles to play. Indian companies will supply and design critical items such as ultra-stable power converters, co-axial power cables for powering the magnet, beam stoppers, ultra high vaccum chambers and superconducting magnets for the FAIR accelerator system. Indian scientists are also working in the CBM and NUSTAR experiments. In CBM, the major responsibiliy from Indian scientists is to build a Muon detection system based on Gas Electron Multiplier (GEM) technology. In the NUSTAR experiment, Indians are involved in buidling high resolution gamma-ray spectrometer (Despec Germanium Array) and Modular Neutron Spectrometer.

Technologies Developed

Ultra High Vacuum Chambers

Ultra High Vacuum Chambers for housing beam diagnostic equipment at FAIR. Challenges: very thin walls and upto seven flanges.

Beam stopper

Stops very high intensity Uranium beams in an absorber equipped with propoer colling arrangements. It is designed in India and to be built by an Indian company.

Power converter

These are the devices that energize the superconducting magnets of the accelerator. They need to be ultra stable in voltage and current.

Gas Electron Multiplier (GEM) foil

These are polyimide foils (commonly known as Kapton) of 50 μm thickness sandwiched between two 5 μm thick copper layers on both sides. The foil has holes with 70 μm diameter and 140 μm pitch (distance between centres of two holes). When voltage of ~ 300 V is applied between these two copper layers, an electric field of ~ tens of kV/cm is generated inside these holes and they work as electron multiplier. Several of these foils are used to build particle detector.

GEM based detector module with the Front End Electronics (FEE) boards mounted.

GEM based detector module under test

The image of a fish skeleton obtained using a GEM based detector

As the GEM based detectors have very good position resolution, they can be used for medical imaging.

Indian Collaborating Institutes

  • Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre, Kolkata

  • Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology, Indore

  • Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute, Durgapur

  • Bose Institute, Kolkata

  • Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai

  • Inter University Accelerator Centre, New Delhi

  • Aligarh Musslim University, Aligarh

  • Punjab University, Chandigarh

  • Rajasthan University, Jaipur

  • University of Kashmir, Srinagar

  • University of Calcutta, Kolkata

  • Benaras Hindu University, Varanasi

  • Indian Institute of Technology Indore

  • Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai

  • Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata

  • Indian Institute of Technology Bombay

  • University of Delhi, Delhi

  • Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati

  • National Institute of Science Education and Research, Bhubaneswar

  • University of North Bengal, Siliguri

  • Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee

  • Gauhati University, Guwahati

  • Pune University, Pune

  • South Gujarat University

  • National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar

  • The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara

  • Magadh University, Bodhgaya

Indian Industry Partners

  • Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), Hyderabad

  • iDesign, Pune

  • Cadillac Filters Private Limited, Kolkata

  • Avasarala industries, Bangalore

  • Godrej Industries

  • RPG industries

  • Vacuum Techniques Pvt. Ltd, Bangalore


1. What major studies FAIR aims to conduct?

FAIR aims to create the extremely high densities found in the core of neutron stars, and it has planned the ‘Compressed Baryonic Matter’ (CBM) experiment. Among the other aims of FAIR are to conduct unique nuclear physics studies with radioactive ion beams, novel studies in hadron physics, including hadron spectroscopy (search for exotic particles like glueballs and determination of their properties), among other hadron studies; explore both neutron and proton-rich nuclei to understand the creation of heavy elements in supernova explosions etc., as well as unique studies in plasma physics, atomic physics, biology, materials science and nanotechnology.

2. How is India associated with FAIR?

This is an International project in which India is the third largest collaborating country. FAIR has shareholders from nine countries, namely, Germany, Finland, France, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Sweden and India. The United Kingdom is an associate partner, while Czechia is aspirant partner. India has committed to contributing in building the advanced accelerator and detector systems for this highly advanced new-generation accelerator facility. All the above scientific goals are front-ranking fundamental questions in contemporary science. The Indian scientific community has deep interest in all these cutting-edge scientific goals of FAIR. The project is being funded jointly by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) with DST acting as the nodal agency in executing the project. The Indo-FAIR Co-ordination Centre (IFCC), a project at Bose Institute, Kolkata, has been acting as the coordinating centre for implementation of this project from Indian side. For India, this is a big collaborative effort between national labs and Indian industry.

3. What is the detector system that India is building for CBM?

CBM muon Chambers (CBM-MuCh), where CBM stands for ‘Compressed Baryonic Matter’. The types of detectors used in MuCh are Gas Electron Multiplier (GEM) and Resistive Plate Chamber (RPC).

4. How many accelerator rings does FAIR have?

Two: SIS100 and SIS300.

5. What would be the speed of FAIR beam?

90% of the speed of light.

6. What is the temperature of FAIR magnets?

4 Kelvin

7. What is the uniqueness of FAIR, intensity or energy?


8. What is the density of the core of neutron star compared to the density of normal nuclear matter?

5-6 times.

Connect with Us

Contact Person

Dr. Subhasis Chattopadhyay
Scientist (H+)
Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre,
1/AF, Bidhan Nagar,
Kolkata – 700064