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Start Date
2015

AIM-COPINS (PALS) - Asteroid Impact Mission Cubesat Opportunities (AIM-COPINS): Payload of Advanced Little Satellites-PALS

Two CubeSats characterise the magnetisation, bulk chemical composition and presence of volatiles of the impact ejecta, as well as perform very high resolution imaging of the ejecta components.
PI and Co-PI: Trigo-Rodriguez, J. M.
Participants: Lloro, I., Martinez-Jiménez, M., Moyano-Cambero, C. E.
Funding Institution: European Space Agency (ESA)
Other Institutions: Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Royal Institute of Technology KTH, AAC Microtec, and DLR

IRO - Proof of Concept of Interferometric Radio Occultation

The objective is to demonstrate experimentally the interferometric Radio-Occultations (iRO) technique recently proposed by ESA [1]. We will use the SPIR receiver in a new experimental set-up to gather GNSS radio-occultation data, and will process the collected data using the iRO technique and compare the results to traditional radio-occultation techniques.

[1] M. Martin-Neira: Combining GNSS reflectometry and radio occultation in GEROS-ISS. GNSS+R 15 Workshop. May 2015. Potsdam, Germany.

PI and Co-PI: Ribó, S.
Participants: Cardellach, E., Fabra, F., Rius, A., Padullés, R.
Funding Institution: ESA

EUCLID_ESP2014 - Dark Energy Cosmological Surveys, enabling Euclid (ESP2014)

Research in Observational Cosmology with large surveys and cosmological simulations. Participation in the PAU, DES and DESI surveys and the Euclid Mission.
PI and Co-PI: Castander, F. J., Fosalba, P.
Participants: Casas, R., Reed, D., Serrano, S., Lloro, I., Chan, K. C., Izard, A., Blot, L., Folger, M., Hoffmann, K.
Funding Institution: MINECO
Other Institutions: coordinated project with IFAE and PIC

EXPLOXG2 - STELLAR EXPLOSIONS AND THEIR SCENARIOS AT HIGH ENERGIES

Stellar explosions are astrophysical phenomena of great importance and interest, for their impact on the dynamics and chemical evolution of galaxies. In the case of novae and thermonuclear supernovae, the exploding star is a white dwarf. These stars are the last stages of stellar evolution of stars with masses below about 10 M_sol . Should they be isolated, their final destination is to cool and disappear, while when in compact binary systems, the accretion of matter from the companion star can destabilize the white dwarf. In the case of novae, the fusion of accreted hydrogen in degenerate conditions at the base of the envelope, causes a thermonuclear runaway and the ejection of the outer layers at high speeds. The emission at high energies, X and gamma-rays, reveals details of the explosion. Furthermore, it has been discovered that novae can produce cosmic rays. The previous stages of stellar evolution leading to the formation of white dwarfs are crucial to understanding the properties of the white dwarf just exploding. Since years we have been working on the characterization of novae and supernovae in X-rays and gamma-rays, with use of space missions. But in the MeV range, where nuclear transitions occur, there has been not much progress from the instrumental point of view, given the intrinsic difficulties in this energy: the instrumental noise is very loud and matter - radiation cross section of interaction (the Compton effect is dominant) is very low. One of the instrumental concepts that would allow a significant advance would be a gamma lens, combined with a Compton camera. Moreover, it is necessary to advance in the study of radiation detectors in the range of hard X-rays/soft gamma-rays (up to several MeV); our group is involved in this study (CdTe detectors), with wide applications in other fields (safety and medicine). As for X-rays, a possibility of significant progress would be LOFT (the Large Observatory for X-ray Timing), able to study time variability with high accuracy, and also Athena+, the successor to the XMM-Newton satellite.
PI and Co-PI: Hernanz, M., Serenelli, A.
Participants: Álvarez, L., Artigues, G., Gálvez, J., Delgado, L., Vinyoles, N., Morales-Garoffolo, A.
Funding Institution: MINECO

NewPlanets - Placing the Earth and the Solar System in context: science and technology of CHEOPS, PLATO and CARMENES

The present project sets out to follow a well-defined path, with the ultimate goal of finding and characterizing habitable Earth-like planets, and the eventual measurements of their atmospheres and search for biosignatures. The backbone of this roadmap is defined by several large instrument projects in which we are deeply involved. Firstly, CARMENES will be commissioned during 2015 and start operations in 2016. In parallel, our activities in the definition and building of CHEOPS will culminate with its launch in 2017 and its nominal duration of 3 years. The CHEOPS mission will help us gain expertise and prepare ourselves for the PLATO mission, the ultimate transit search machine, which will be operating from 2024 to 2030. This roadmap will open up the way to large-scale, comparative planetology and will also allow us to view the Earth as a planet and compare it with others to understand dominant external factors that shape our climate over mid and long timescales.
PI and Co-PI: Ribas, I.
Participants: Herrero, E., Vilardell, F., Colomé, J., Garcia-Piquer, Á., Guàrdia, J., Perger, M., Rosich, A., Morales, J. C., Lafarga Magro, M.
Funding Institution: MINECO
2014

JPL-ISC - Investigation of Sea Surface Height Retrieval Algorithms using GNSS-Reflectometry

The goal of this study is to investigate and compare the performance of different algorithms to estimate sea surface height retrievals using GNSS-R data.
PI and Co-PI: C. Zuffada (NASA/JPL)
Participants: Maria Paola Clarizia, University of Michigan, Chris Ruf, University of Michigan, Rashmi Shah (NASA/JPL), Stephen Lowe (NASA/JPL), Cardellach, E.

PolROR - Support and consulting for Polarimetric Radio Occultation through Rain (PolROR) software package

Collaboration agreement between the National Space Science Center (NSSC) of the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) (Bejing, China), and the ICE-CSIC/IEEC. An implementation of the forward model for GNSS signal propagation through rain (PolROR) is provided to NSSC together with 1 year support and consulting.
PI and Co-PI: Cardellach, E.
Participants: Tomas, S., Padullés, R.
Funding Institution: NSSC, CAS

E-GEM - European GNSS-R Environmental Monitoring

FP7 Project 2014-2016 on the use of GNSS-Reflectometry for environmental monitoring of the Earth.
PI and Co-PI: Cardellach, E., Local Leader
Participants: Arco Fernandez, J. C., Cardellach, E., Fabra, F., Nogués-Correig, O., Ribó, S., Rius, A., Padullés, R.
Funding Institution: European Comission FP-7 Frame Programme
Other Institutions: Deimos (Portugal), UPC (Spain), IFREMER (France), NERSC (Norway), U. Roma Tor Vergata (Italy), U. Roma La Sapienza (Italy), U. Salamanca (Spain), NORUT (Norway), GFZ (Germany)

EXOSPACE - Placing the Earth and the Solar System in context: EChO mission science and technology

Our scientific goals are ambitious and innovative and important to the advancement of exoplanet science. The investigations we plan to carry out will greatly contribute to a better understanding of the relationship of planets and stars and will allow us to take the next step in detecting and studying Earth-like planets. As the same time, we will contribute to the knowledge on exoplanet systems by detecting new terrestrial planets orbiting M dwarf stars, and some of them potentially in the habitable zone. In the technological aspects, we will take a leading role in the development of the Ground Segment infrastructure for EChO. This is also a consequence of the expertise from other technological project for the development of astronomical instrumentation (i.e., robotic telescopes, CTA). In particular, the use of artificial intelligence technology for optimum mission scheduling is a growing field in both ground- and spaced-based observatories.
PI and Co-PI: Ribas, I.
Participants: Colomé, J., Rosich, A., Perger, M., Guàrdia, J., Herrero, E., Garcia-Piquer, Á., Vilardell, F.
Funding Institution: MINECO

EXPLOXG - STELLAR EXPLOSIONS AND THEIR SCENARIOS IN X- AND GAMMA RAYS

Stellar explosions are astrophysical phenomena of great importance and interest, for their impact on the dynamics and chemical evolution of galaxies . In the case of novae and thermonuclear supernovae, the exploding star is a white dwarf. These stars are the last stages of stellar evolution of stars with masses below about 10 M_sol . Should be isolated , their final destination is to cool and disappear, while when in compact binary systems, the accretion of matter from the companion star can destabilize the white dwarf. In the case of novae, the fusion of accreted hydrogen in degenerate conditions at the base of the envelope, causes a thermonuclear runaway and the ejection of the outer layers at high speeds. The emission at high energies reveals details of the explosion. Furthermore, it has been discovered that nova can produce cosmic rays. The previous stages of stellar evolution leading to the formation of white dwarfs are crucial to understanding the properties of the white dwarf just exploding. Since years we have been working on the characterization of novae and supernovae in X-rays and gamma-rays, with use of space missions. But in the MeV range, where nuclear transitions occur, there has been not much progress from the instrumental point of view, given the intrinsic difficulties in this energy: the instrumental noise is very loud and matter - radiation cross section of interaction (the Compton effect is dominant ) is very low. One of the instrumental concepts that would allow a significant advance would be a gamma lens, combined with a Compton camera. Moreover, it is necessary to advance in the study of radiation detectors in the range of hard X-rays/sift gamma-rays (up to 1 MeV) , and so our group is involved in this study (CdTe detectors ), with wide applications in other fields (safety and medicine). As for X -rays, a possibility of significant progress would be LOFT (the Large Observatory for X-ray Timing, able to study time variability with high accuracy) and also Athena + , the successor to the XMM-Newton satellite.
PI and Co-PI: Hernanz, M., Serenelli, A.
Participants: Álvarez, L., Artigues, G., Delgado, L., Morales-Garoffolo, A., Vinyoles, N., Tatischeff, V., Jean, P., Elías de la Rosa, N., Alvarez, J.M., Gálvez, J.
Funding Institution: MINECO
Other Institutions: CSNSM (IN2P3-CNRS & UNI. PARIS SUD) FRANCE, IRAP (CNRS-CNES-UNI- TOULOUSE III PAUL SABATIER), FRANCE; INAF - PADOVA ASTRONOMICAL OBS., ITALIA; CENTRO DE LASERES PULSADOS ULTRACORTOS ULTRAINTENSOS, SALAMANCA

Euclid_ESP2013 - Dark Energy Cosmological Surveys, enabling Euclid

Research in Observational Cosmology with large surveys and cosmological simulations. Participation in the PAU and DES surveys and the Euclid mission.
PI and Co-PI: Castander, F. J., Fosalba, P.
Participants: Casas, R., Izard, A., Lloro, I., Reed, D., Serrano, S., Chan, K. C.
Funding Institution: MINECO
Other Institutions: coordinated project with IFAE and PIC

LPF-GWA-EP - Development and Exploitation of the LISA Pathfinder mission and contributions to The Gravitational Universe and STE-QUEST

Gravitational Wave Astronomy consists in the detection and analysis of the gravitational radiation emitted by different cosmic sources as a way to understand the Universe. It is expected that the forthcoming second-generation of ground-based detectors will make the first detections opening the field in the high-frequency window. The low-frequency window (around the mHz), which is not accessible from the ground, is very rich in science. The eLISA consortium submitted The Gravitational Universe, a science theme for the ESA L2/L3 (large size) missions that addresses the science of the lowfrequency band, with eLISA as the strawman mission concept to carry out an ambitious scientific program: By "observing" the coalescence and merger of massive black hole binaries, extreme-mass-ratio inspirals, galactic ultra-compact binaries, and possible gravitational-wave backgrounds of diverse origin, new discoveries with strong implications for astrophysics, cosmology, and fundamental physics are expected. Since the main technology for a space-based gravitational-wave detector cannot be tested on ground, ESA approved a technology demonstrator mission, LISA Pathfinder (LPF), whose main goal is to demonstrate, in a space environment, the concept of the gravitational wave detection using a single spacecraft: It will put two test masses in a near-perfect gravitational free-fall and control and measure their motion with unprecedented accuracy, by means of inertial sensors, high precision laser metrology, drag-free control, and an ultra-precise micro-Newton propulsion system. It is scheduled for launch in July 2015. Spain is one of the eight European signatory countries of the LPF Multilateral agreement and IEEC is the research institute in charge of the Spanish contribution consisting of the Data and Diagnostic Subsystem. On the other hand, there are some foundational aspects of gravity that require a different type of space mission, for instance the equivalence principle. STE-QUEST is a proposal for the ESA Cosmic Vision program M3 (medium size) mission. It consists of a dual species (Rb-85 and Rb-87) atom interferometer and a microwave link. The universality of free fall of matter waves in the Earth gravity field can be tested, to an unprecedent sensitivity, by comparing the trajectory of two Bose-Einstein condensates of Rb-85 and Rb-87, which constitutes a test of the Weak Equivalence Principle. The results of these tests can be interpreted in different physical frameworks/theories providing a mean to improve the bounds for different models and searching for new physics beyond general relativity and quantum mechanics. We have participated in the STE-QUEST Phase A, being in charge of the software and collaborating with ZARM on magnetic shielding and monitoring of the magnetic environment of the atom interferometer. This project has three general goals: (i) To finalize the developments for the LPF mission and participation in the mission operations and science exploitation. (ii) To continue our instrumental and theoretical studies towards a space-based gravitational-wave observatory within the context of The Gravitational Universe. (iii) Participation in the developments and activities of a future STE-QUEST mission.
PI and Co-PI: Sopuerta, C., Isern, J.
Participants: Canizares, P., Gesa, L., Gibert, F., Karnesis, N., Lloro, I., Martin, V., , ., Kulebi, B., Nofrarias, M., Santos-Oliván, D., Sperhake, U., Rivas, F., López-Zaragoza, J. P., Oltean, M., et al
Funding Institution: MINECO

FPA2013-43425-P - Teorias Efectivas de las Interacciones Fuertes en Condiciones Extremas y en Quarkonium Pesado

The description of the experiments performed in large accelerator facilities requires a solid knowledge of the strong interaction dynamics. This is indeed unavoidable in order to solve the most important problems that high energy physics faces nowadays. These can be summarized as follows: 1) to discern the differences between the predictions of the Standard Model and experimental data (i.e. to detect new physics), 2) to quantitatively understand the strong interactions, and 3) to understand the new forms of matter that appear at finite temperature/density in accelerator facilities or in the core of compact stars. In spite of the remarkable and steady progress in lattice QCD, it is still not possible to have quantitative solutions of the theory of the strong interactions in many situations of current interest, in particular for real-time phenomena at finite temperature and density, or when disparate scales enter the problem. In the latter case, however, it is possible to obtain model independent results, due to the existence of hierarchies of widely separated scales, which one can take advantage of by using effective field theories. Typically, these hierarchies of widely separated scales appear when one studies particular kinematical regions. In this context, the motivation of this group is to impel in a resolute way the use of effective field theories of QCD in strong interaction processes. This allows us to describe in the same language different physical processes. In this project we will focus our efforts on the following physical systems: 1) systems made up of two heavy quarks (also considering its study at finite temperature and density) 2) systems at finite temperature, where an example of effective field theory would be transport theory and 3) systems at finite baryon number, for which a number of effective field theories exist depending on the size of the chemical potential and on the number of active flavors. The systems made up by two heavy quarks can be described with potential non -relativistic QCD (pNRQCD), a successfull effective field theory that we plan to adapt to the cases of finite temperature and density. At present, there is no other group in Spain that promotes, in a determined way, these lines of research. Our emphasis is in obtaining model independent results, which could be checked against experiment.
PI and Co-PI: Manuel, C., Tolos, L.
Participants:
Funding Institution: Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad

MAP GRC - MULTI-MESSENGER APPROACH TO ASTRO-PARTICLE PHYSICS

The group combines theoretical and observational expertise on high-energy astrophysics. This approach to these topics is not common, and we focus on developing expertise in both areas to always work with a global and unifying view on the problems we pursue. We complement our high-energy research with strong abilities in multifrequency observations with the most advanced facilities from radio to X-rays. In particular we actively perform observations (in visitor and remote mode, as well as service mode when this is the sole option) with single dish antennas (Parkes, Green Bank Telescope, IRAM), radio interferometer (Australian Telescope Compact Array), optical and infrared telescopes (ESO – Very Large Telescope, William Herschel Telescope, Telescopio Nazionale Galileo, Gran Telescopio Canarias) and soft and hard X-ray range (XMM-Newton, Chandra, Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer and Swift X-ray Observatories, INTEGRAL).
PI and Co-PI: de Ona Wilhelmi, E.
Participants: Rea, N., Li, J., Torres, D. F., Colomé, J., Garcia-Piquer, Á.
Funding Institution: AGAUR

NLCOSMO - Cosmology at large-scales with state-of-the-art models for nonlinear growth of structure and the statistical analysis of galaxy surveys

Throughout the execution of this proposal we will develop key research in theoretical models of large-scale structure including the way galaxies trace this structure. Our goal is to reach the percent level accuracy needed, following a line of well stablished and successful ideas I partially pioneered. We will also use some of the largest cosmological simulations of structure formation and galaxy mock catalogues available to date to cross-validate these models and to produce robust error estimates. This will result in invaluable tools for the analysis of large galaxy surveys, even for those were we are not directly involved. We plan to apply these tools to do a unique study of the evolution of structure growth with the world-leading DES data using galaxy clustering. In particular we will focus in two of the best regarded probes for cosmic acceleration: baryon acoustic oscillations (BA) and redshift space distortions (RSD). This will be reinforced with additional studies using PAUS, which adds complementary data. In turn this will set clear strategies and well-tested tools for an optimal analysis of the upcoming ESA/Euclid satellite data.
PI and Co-PI: Crocce, M.
Participants:
Funding Institution: Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovacion
2013

PICT Raices - Computational modeling and data analysis in high energy astrophysics

Computational modeling and data analysis in high energy astrophysics
PI and Co-PI: Analia Cillis, Torres, D. F.
Participants:
Funding Institution: Ministry of Science of Argentina

SBH-Astro-HEP - Simulations of Black Holes in Astrophysics and in High-Energy Physics

The main of this project is to contribute to gravitational wave astronomy and also to high-energy gravitational physics through the study of the dynamics of black holes. Our motivation in the case of gravitational wave astronomy comes from the plans for a space-based gravitational-wave observatory in space (known as eLISA) via the European Space Agency (ESA). Spain is one of the main participants, and has already contributed, via the Institute of Space Sciences (CSIC-IEEC), with key instrumentation for the demonstrator mission, LISA PathFinder. The main goal of this observatory is to detect and analyze gravitational radiation from several astrophysical and cosmological sources. Two of the main LISA sources will be: (i) the inspiral, merger and ringdown of a black hole binary (with masses around one million times the mass of the Sun) throughout the observable universe. (ii) The inspiral of a stellar compact object (1 to 50 times the mass of the Sun) into a massive black hole sitting at a galactic center, also known as Extreme-Mass-Ratio Inspirals (EMRIs). Observations of these systems are expected to produce discoveries that will revolutionize our knowledge in the areas of astrophysics, cosmology, and fundamental physics. Numerical simulations of these systems are crucial to obtain precise theoretical waveform templates that will be use to separate the signals from the instrumental noise, and also to estimate with precision the physical parameters of the systems. These simulations have to solve the non-linear Partial Differential Equations of General Relativity (Einstein field equations), or the linearized version in the case of EMRIs. The motivation in the case of high-energy physics comes from the gauge/gravity duality, that connects gravitational systems to systems that can be described in terms of gauge field theories. Then, by simulating certain black hole spacetimes we expect to get information that can be relevant to understand systems like the quark/gluon plasma produced in particle accelerators and also phenomena in condensed matter physics like superconductivity or quantum Hall effect.
PI and Co-PI: Sopuerta, C.
Participants: Sperhake, U., Santos-Oliván, D.
Funding Institution: Galicia Supercomputing Center (CESGA)

SPIR - Software PARIS Interferometric Receiver (PIT-PoC-CCN4)

Desgin, development and test of a Software PARIS Interferometric Receiver (SPIR) with beam steering capabilities.

PI and Co-PI: Rius, A.
Participants: Ribó, S., Arco Fernandez, J. C., Nogués-Correig, O., Fabra, F., Cardellach, E.
Funding Institution: ESA
Other Institutions: ESA, Aalto University

AEU - Advanced Engineering Unit

Advanced Engineering Unit
PI and Co-PI: Isern, J.
Participants: Ribó, S., Colomé, J.