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The quest of particles that could form the constituents of the mysterious dark matter is one of the most interesting research activities in modern Astroparticle Physics.

Perhaps the most important hypothetical particles are the axions. The effort to detect axions takes place at the European Council for Nuclear Research CERN, in Geneva, which is the largest and most valuable research Centre in the world.

CERN's main area of research is fundamental physics, which studies the constituents and functions of the universe.

The researchers use the largest and most complex scientific instruments in order to study the basic constituents of matter, the elementary particles and the forces acting between them, to reveal the laws of nature. One of these instruments is the CAST telescope.

The aim of CAST is to discover the secret constituent of the Universe


The Cern Axion Solar Telescope (CAST) is a telescope designed to detect hypothetical particles called "axions", which, in theory, are created / " break down" at the magnetic fields of the sun. The existence of particles such as the axions could open a new path to the study of the solar core and explain many astrophysical phenomena.

CAST uses a superconducting dipole magnet for detecting axions from the sun. The magnet is located on a movable platform and monitors the sun for about 3 hours per day. The idea is that the magnetic field acts as a catalyst to transform axions into X-rays, making them relatively easy to detect by means of suitable detectors. The strength of the superconducting dipole magnet and its long length ensure the efficiency of the process.

CAST brings together techniques from particle physics and astronomy, and benefits from CERN’s expertise in accelerators, X-ray detection, magnets and cryogenics. The research project started in 2000. In 2011 it was proposed that the project continues for the next 3-4 years.


Four Greek institutions are members of the international cooperation team participating at the CAST experiment: AUTH, NTUA, DEMOKRITOS and the University of Patras, with Professor Konstantin Zioutas from the University of Patras as leader of the group. Professor Konstantin Zioutas has also been in charge of the experiment team on behalf of AUTH from 2000 until 2005 and since 2005 until today, on behalf of the University of Patras.

Distinguished researchers collaborate in the CAST experiment from institutions such as the BNL, DESY, DUHRAM, YALE, as well as Greek scientists who live and work abroad as for example, I. Giomataris / Saclay, T. Papaevangelou / Saclay, I. Semertzidis / BNL.


Konstantin Zioutas, Professor of Experimental Nuclear Physics and Particle Physics.