The Particle Astrophysics Center of IHEP is focused on space high energy astrophysics experiments and related astrophysics research, high altitude cosmic ray observations and related physics research, reactor neutrino physics experiments and related physics research, with special attention to developing various experimental techniques in space, at high altitude mountaints and underground. The advantage of the center is its combined capabilities in experimental design, detectors R&D, observations and data analysis, as well astheoretical modelling, etc.
On space instrumentation research, the center started to develop China’s space astronomy observations with high altitude balloons since 1970’s. In 1984, the first successful observations to the Crab pulsar and other objects were carried out at balloon altitudes, from which China’s high energy astronomical satellite research plan was gradually developed. Currently the center is building China’s first astronomy satellite, the Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope, which will be launched around 2015. POLAR, to be docking onboard TG-2 spacelab in 2015 as a space-borne GRB polarimeter, is also under construction in the center. The center has also been participating several other space projects, including the ISS AMS experiment, the Space multi-wavelength Variable Objects Monitor (SVOM) satellite, China’s Chang’E lunar exploration program, the DArk Matter Particle Exploration (DAMPE) etc. The center has proposed the X-ray Timing and Polarization (XTP) satellite mission and the High Energy cosmic-Ray Detection (HERD) facility onboard China’s space station, which are planned for launch at around 2020.
In recent years, the center has invested many resources in new detector R&D, the Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC), and detector calibration systems. The works in progress include the development of space X-ray semiconductor detectors, the development of ASIC for high performance detector readouts, building the calibration facility of space X-ray detectors and optics. All these will provide adequate support for the future space high energy astrophysics missions.
Currently, there are 159 fulltime employees in the center, with 85 percent of them holding master’s or doctor’s degrees. Center Director: Shuangnan Zhang. Deputy Directors: Zhen Cao, Liming Song (also assistant director of IHEP), Fangjun Lu and Changgen Yang.