Applications for society and for companies
Technological discoveries and innovations in nuclear and particle physics can have direct and sometimes unexpected applications within society in sectors as varied as health, energy, chemistry, biology, space and the environment.
Multiple benefits with strong societal impact
IN2P3 puts great emphasis on transferring innovations to society. For example, technologies developed to detect and measure particles are used in the treatment of cancer, particularly in radiotherapy. Techniques related to accelerators and used in radiochemistry are also used to produce radionuclides which are of interest for medical imaging and brachytherapy. Many of the Institute's innovations have contributed to the development of in vivo imaging particularly involving small animals.
IN2P3's expertise in instrumentation and radioactivity measurement means it can be a partner for the nuclear energy sector. This is the case with nuclear facility decommissioning projects, an area in which the Institute can provide, through its 'Becquerel network', objective expertise studies to the various actors involved
The Institute's researchers and engineers disseminate innovation to industry and are regularly consulted to improve the safety and analysis of nuclear sites. They also work in partnership with scientific, civil and associative actors in the fields of nuclear power and the environment. For example, the "Becquerel network" carries out low-level radioactivity measurements for such actors.
The Geobird project:
The Geobird project: French National Research Agency (ANR) funding for this project was obtained by IN2P3 engineers.
IN2P3 invented 'bio-loggers', miniature electronic devices which researchers can use to study animal behaviour and the effects of human activity on the environment. New imaging techniques are also being developed to map volcanoes, tunnels and raw material deposits or monitor potentially explosive devices.
A strongly asserted and robust technology transfer policy
The promotion and transfer of research results to the economic and social sphere is an important issue for the Institute, which strongly encourages its personnel to adopt this approach for innovative concepts. Support and implementation are based on a network of technology transfer officers from all the laboratories which is coordinated on a national scale. This ensures robust links with industrial partners while attentive support is given to the creation of start-up companies, joint laboratories and filing patents.
Numerous actors are involved in the innovation process right from the initial identification of a project in a laboratory to putting the resulting technology on the market. CNRS plays a key role in this ecosystem by interacting with all existing structures.
Some examples of technology transfer at IN2P3
- LUXCIFER, the development of a prototype universal neutron detector (Louise STUTTGE and Laurent DOUCE – IPHC, Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien).
- MIMAC, feasibility study of the characterisation of a natural lithium deposit using neutron measurement (Nadine Sauzet, Daniel Santos, Véronique Ghetta – LPSC, Laboratoire de physique subatomique et de cosmologie de Grenoble).
PatentsSince 2010 about thirty patents and software have been registered by IN2P3 scientists.
WEEROC: In 2012, the national OMEGA platform hosted the emergence of a new company, WEEROC, which aims to improve ASICs microelectronic circuits developed in research for photodetection and particle detection. One of the chips produced by Weeroc is currently involved in piloting the Ariane-5 rocket.
FiberMetrix was created in 2014 by two researchers from the Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien (IPHC, CNRS/University of Strasbourg) and develops instruments which measure the quantity of ionising radiation delivered to patients during diagnostic radiology or radiotherapy procedures.
Joint laboratories (LabComs)
The Institute works on bringing its laboratories and industry together to create close links between joint research teams or laboratories.
P2R is IN2P3's first joint laboratory
P2R is IN2P3's first joint laboratory: P2R (Particle Physics for Radiation protection) is a joint laboratory (CENBG, Centre d’Etudes Nucléaires at Bordeaux-Gradignan/Carmelec) which works on the development of innovative detectors for radiation protection to respond to public health, control and safety requirements. This joint laboratory's scientific and technical programme focuses on the detection of ionising radiation using innovative techniques from fundamental particle physics research which can be transferred to industry.
Preparatory work is underway for another Labcom joint laboratory: TESMARAC which is a joint project involving Subatech (Laboratoire de physique subatomique et des technologies associées) and Triskem international.
Attached page: CNRS’s technology transfer systems
 Molecular recognition technology for the measurement of trace-level radioisotopes in complex matrices