AGATA project to study atomic nuclei for imaging applications

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The AGATA (Advanced GAmma Tracking Array) project for studying the structure of very unstable atomic nuclei at the extremes by observing the gamma rays emitted as they decay which will pave way for applications in diagnostic imaging to nuclear safety controls has been started at the National Laboratories in Legnaro of Italy's National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) in Rome.

The AGATA experiment involves hundreds of researchers from over 45 institutes in 13 European countries: Italy, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Finland, France, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the U.K.

AGATA is a research and development project for the realization of a 4€ spectrometer, that is a detector capable of capturing the gamma rays produced by nuclear reactions, in whatever direction they are emitted. The "eyes" of AGATA will consist of 180 hexagonal germanium crystals assembled in 60 triplets, said INFN.

AGATA will be completed over the next few years and is expected to have an enormous impact on the understanding of those atomic nuclei with an excess of protons or neutrons (relative to stable nuclei), nuclei at high temperatures and nuclei with angular momentum, added INFN.