Name: Laboratoire Souterrain de Modane – participation of the Czech Republic

Institute: Czech Technical University in Prague

Coordinator: doc. Ing. Ivan Štekl, CSc.;


LSM-CZ organizes the participation of the Czech research community in the international underground laboratory LSM (Laboratoire Souterrain de Modane) and has a significant share in the construction of new facilities and operation of the laboratory. In LSM, multidisciplinary fundamental research in particle, astroparticle and nuclear physics (e.g. search for dark matter, studies of the properties of neutrinos) and a broad range of applications requiring extremely low radioactivity environments is performed. Examples of areas in which unique technologies developed in LSM are being applied includes the sensitive detection of radionuclides for safety and health protection, the ultra-sensitive monitoring of nuclear power plant outlets for the hidden leakage of radionuclides, microelectronics in the testing of chips for computer safety from the point of view of damage caused by radioactivity, radiobiology in the investigation of DNA and cells under conditions of extremely low levels of ionizing radiation, geoscience by geo‑neutrinos, and archeology in radionuclides dating and climatology. LSM provides its users unique technologies with significant application potential for industry, including an environment with ultra-low background conditions with the suppression of all types of radioactivity (cosmic rays, gammas, neutrons), a clean room with highly reduced radon concentration, a filtration anti-radon facility suppressing the content of radon by a factor 10000 and ultra-low background HPGe (High Purity Germanium) spectroscopy for the detection of radioactivity in the environment. LSM also offers conditions for researching trace amounts of radioactive contamination arising from Chernobyl contamination in the Czech Republic, for selecting radio-pure materials and for studying ultra-rare nuclear processes, automatic systems for HPGe detectors, BiPo detectors for taking thin foil radioactivity measurements at the level of just a few μBq/kg in 208Tl and 214Bi, an advanced radon emanation screening facility and improved innovative detector technologies (pixel detectors) for low background conditions. Similar conditions or such sensitive technologies are impossible to reach outside of the underground laboratories. The research being conducted at LSM may have significant application potential in the future for the long-term storage of biological materials (e.g. umbilical cord blood, sperm, eggs) to reduce radiation damage by cosmic rays. LSM is involved in international cooperation with other deep underground laboratories in the United Kingdom (Boulby Underground Laboratory), Spain (Canfranc Underground Laboratory), Italy (Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso), the People´s Republic of China (Jinping Underground Laboratory)) and Canada (SNOLAB). Within the EU, the establishment of a distributed platform for deep underground research laboratories and its transformation into a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) is under preparation.