PRISMA Internship Program

The university's excellent research environment and facilities in the field of particle physics are opening their doors to offer excellent students outstanding learning and professional development opportunities in the Cluster of Excellence PRISMA "Precision Physics, Fundamental Interactions and Structure of Matter".

We search for excellent graduate students, who are looking for research experience abroad. Every student will work in one or more fields of particle and hadron physics in our research groups. They visit the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) for a period of at least 8 weeks up to 12 weeks. Internships are offered throughout the year. During their stay at JGU, internship students support experienced researchers in their laboratories to get a hands-on research training.

The purpose of the internship is to familiarize students with the research facilities, and the research opportunities at JGU. Students also get the opportunity to attend discussions with internationally renowned researchers from the Department of Physics and to attend their seminars and lectures . Excellent students also get the offer to pursue their PhD at JGU. The program includes reimbursement of travel costs up to 700 EUR and free accommodation in Mainz.

Prof. Dr. Achim Denig

Research Area A: Fundamental Interactions

From large-scale objects in the Universe down to the tiniest constituents of matter, symmetries and conservation laws determine the interactions between particles and the structures in which matter organizes itself. High precision tests of fundamental interactions and of symmetry breaking are performed in Research Area A by PRISMA researchers on all energy and length scales – from ultracold neutrons to the highest energies accessible in particle and astroparticle physics.

Notably, the weak mixing angle will be measured with world-record accuracy at low energies at the MAMI and MESA particle accelerators and high energies at the LHC . Searches for a new light gauge boson, which could explain the anomalous magnetic moment of the muon and act as a messenger to the dark matter sector, will be performed at the accelerators on the campus. The flavour puzzle will be addressed by studying the flavour-changing couplings of quarks and neutrinos with high precision, using a large variety of experimental approaches. Tests of fundamental symmetries such as Lorentz and CPT invariance are performed using atom and ion traps.

Prof. Dr. Volker Büscher

Research Area B: Origin of Mass and Physics Beyond the Standard Model

In this research area, PRISMA brings together researchers from theory and a wide range of low- and high-energy experiments to focus on solving major fundamental questions that are left open by the SM (standard model): the origin of electroweak symmetry breaking and particle masses, as well as the nature of dark matter and other new particles that are expected to be discovered at the TeV scale. PRISMA researchers are aiming at pinning down the mechanism of electroweak symmetry breaking by providing accurate measurements of the electroweak precision observables, the top quark mass, and the hadronic contribution to the fine-structure constant, thereby testing the theory of electroweak interactions at the quantum level. A large variety of new heavy particles, such as superpartners of SM particles, Kaluza-Klein excitations, and new W' and Z' bosons, are searched for at the LHC. This includes in particular the hunt for WIMPs based on missing energy signatures. Dark matter particles are also searched for using liquid-xenon direct detection experiments.

Prof. Dr. Kurt Aulenbacher


MAMI, the MAinz MIkrotron, is a so-called continuous wave accelerator. This device is well suited to conduct precision tests on the structure of matter. Research especially concentrates on the investigation of subatomic entities which are combined of many particles with strong interaction. A bunch of different experiments are being conducted in four substantial collaborations: A1 Collaboration (Electron Scattering), A2 Collaboration (Tagged Photon), X1 (X-Ray Radiation) and three external experiments: COMPASS (at CERN) , BESIII (at the BEPC-II collider) , PANDA (at the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research).

The currently constructed MESA accelerator explores the physics opportunities offered by using the recently established Energy-Recovery-Linac (ERL) accelerator technology. It allows very high electron beam luminosities on internal targets at low energies. The Mainz Energy-recovering Superconducting Accelerator (MESA) will provide a 100 MeV continuous-wave beam, a current of 10 mA in its final design stage in 2017, and a geometrical beam emittance of less than 50 nm, allowing for virtually loss-free focusing through a windowless gas target. Currently research activities are being conducted on R&D (Research and Development) for the two major experiments at the future accelerator: P2 (Parity Violation in electron scattering) and MAGIX (a high resolution spectrometer facility for internal target experiments).

Prof. Dr. Matthias Neubert


The Mainz Institute for Theoretical Physics (MITP) is an international research center based in its conceptual design on worldwide successful theoretical institutes like the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) in Santa Barbara or the Galileo Galilei Institute for Theoretical Physics (GGI) in Florence. MITP provides unique opportunities for cross-disciplinary exchange between researchers from different fields of expertise in theoretical physics. Series of scientific programs (lasting for several weeks), short topical workshops, and advanced schools attract leading international researchers working in theoretical particle, hadron, atomic and mathematical physics to Germany. These programs are proposed and organized by a small team of external scientists in collaboration with one or more local researchers. In this way, the most timely and relevant topics will be identified by active, leading researchers in any given area.

The MITP is part of the Cluster of Excellence PRISMA and is located on the campus of the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz. Its scientific activities, lasting altogether 24 weeks in 2015, are devoted to topics of forefront research in theoretical physics. They are intended to stimulate discussions and collaborations among the participants with the goal of generating new ideas and developing new tools and methods.

Prof. Dr. Werner Heil


Neutrons are a powerful tool for addressing some of the most fascinating questions in particle physics, nuclear physics and astronomy. Ultra-cold neutrons (UCNs) offer the opportunity to investigate the static and decay properties of the free neutron with exceptionally high precision. This allows one to accurately probe the effects of new physics, which manifest themselves in small and subtle deviations from SM predictions.

The inherently safe reactor in Mainz is an established user facility for UCN physics. It attracts international scientists to JGU and triggers a series of new high-precision experiments with UCNs. A second new installation at TRIGA is a Penning trap and laser spectroscopy setup for the investigation of short-lived neutron-rich isotopes (TRIGA-SPEC) . Thermal-neutron induced fission of various actinide targets will produce nuclei in the region of N = 82, which are highly relevant for a better understanding of the r-process path in nucleosynthesis. This will shed further light on the abundances of the heavy elements in the Universe.

Dr. Andrea Brogna Dr. Quirin Weitzel

Detector Lab

The development and construction of particle detectors is a key ingredient of the PRISMA cluster. Researchers at JGU have expertise in areas of digital electronics, gaseous and liquid time-projection chambers (TPCs), photon counters, neutron detectors, high-frequency superconducting resonant circuits, high-resolution spectrometers, and others. The PRISMA Detector Laboratory provides a structure, bringing together the hardware activities of all experimental research groups across the cluster.

The focus of the detector laboratory lies on fast readout electronics, time projection chambers and novel photon detectors. The detector laboratory is vital in order to coordinate and extend all areas of detector development and construction at JGU. It will greatly benefit from the availability of high-intensity electron and photon beams at MAMI for test purposes, as well as the capability of irradiation testing of detectors and electronics at TRIGA.

Prof. Dr. Concettina Sfienti

Research Area C: Structure of Matter

In research area C the research focuses on precision measurements of space-like and time-like form factors at the MAMI and BES-III (Beijing, China) facilities, which will contribute to resolving the current puzzles of the anomalous magnetic moment of the muon and the proton radius. Another experiment conducted in collaboration with JGU researchers is on Parity Violation and Nuclear Structure. It is based on the rather complex nature of the nuclear forces among protons and neutrons, which generate a broad range and diversity in the phenomena that can be observed. The experiments are dedicated to studying interactions in few-baryon systems, aiming to arrive at a quantitative understanding of the interactions between baryons from Quantum Chromo Dynamics.

The major focus is on low-energy processes in order to obtain insight into the internal structure of the nucleon and to explore properties of nuclear matter. The experiments at the TRIGA user facility and its TRIGA-SPEC experiments will serve to explore mechanisms of nucleosynthesis and support the production and investigation of superheavy elements. Studies of light hypernuclei offer the opportunity of gaining deeper insight into the nature of nuclear forces.

Prof. Dr. Stefan Weinzierl

Research Area D: Theoretical Concepts and Mathematical Foundations

The goal of this research area is to foster conceptual and methodological developments in theoretical subatomic physics. Subareas include effective field theories, lattice gauge theory, perturbative methods, quantum gravity, and topics of string theory and mathematical physics. In Research Area D researches apply effective field theories (EFTs) to a variety of different problems, including flavour physics, collider physics, physics beyond the Standard Model, and low-energy processes. In parallel the lattice QCD group carries out simulations on Europe's fastest supercomputers and continues to work on the acceleration of simulation algorithms.

Theorists at JGU play a leading role in constructing a consistent field theory of fixed-point quantum gravity as an alternative to string theory. Aspects of string phenomenology, such as string-inspired models of extra dimensions and SUSY extensions of the SM, as well as the moduli spaces resulting from compactification, will be investigated vigorously. Several fascinating topics at the intersection of physics and mathematics are also under investigation, including the deep connections between scattering amplitudes, loop integrals, number theory, and algebraic geometry.

Dr. Kevin Anding


Dr. Kevin Anding
PRISMA Cluster of Excellence
Graduate Marketing and Recruiting
Staudingerweg 9
55128 Mainz
phone: +49 6131 39-21886

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