The Institute is located in the University of Cantabria campus, in Santander, rises from 2000 square metre building. IFCA has several laboratories (metrology, electronic, and test laboratory), thermal chamber, clean room and supercomputer services. Furthermore, a telescope and a meteorological station are installed in the building, which are used to observe the sky and to get meteorological data respectively. Moreover, guided tours are allowed.
The main goal of the Instituto de Física de Cantabria is to promote high quality scientific research in the fields of:
• Astrophysics: The main scientific goal of our R&D activities is to make significant progress towards the understanding and the technology both in the design of new detectors and developing astronomical data analysis. The three lines of research currently being pursued are: X-Ray Astronomy, which is particularly interested in studying the growing massive black holes that populate the centres of galaxies and that show up, when this accretion is significant, as Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN); Observational Cosmology and Instrumentation, which accounts for the analysis and interpretation of Cosmic Microwave Background, as well as for the design and development of instrumental devices to perform the measurement of these data, like Planck; and Extragalactic Surveys, which is involved in the definition of particular surveys as well as in the exploitation of existent public surveys; we also develop tools to select targets and to analyse data.
• High Energy Physics. At IFCA, are taking part in experiments which allow to make progress in the understanding of the basic particles of matters, making connections with the CERN programs (European Laboratory for Particles Physics) and others international laboratory as Fermilab (in Chicago). For several years, The team they worked with to design one of the seven particle detectors of the LHC, on CMS experiment. They are currently engaged in the R&D phase towards a new detector in the particle accelerator ILC.
• Meteorology and Climatic Change: This research group is working on many interesting international research projects. conducting research in topics related to weather climate research, like a new prediction system or climatic change. Their obtained results can be used to provide calibrated/local observations and predictions to different users from impact sectors (agriculture, hydrology, energy, etc.).
• Complex physical systems and photonic. They investigate the mechanisms of crystal growth and the chaos in fractals. Moreover, they develop detectors for studies of laser and photonics.
• Computation. IFCA is the third largest Spanish research centre in terms of computing resources, including various computer clusters, totaling about 1000 nuclei. In the computer room is the supercomputer Altamira, belonging to the Spanish National Supercomputing Network. This equipment is used by several projects, including those which aimed at implementation of Grid technology, particle physics and astrophysics.
• Knowledge transfer. In order to promote technology transfer process, IFCA has made significant efforts to synthesize and make available the knowledges and skills developed in the different research projects. To reinforce the Cantabrian´ s business network, IFCA and companies keep constantly in contact.
• Scientific culture unit. In 2007 at IFCA, through the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT), established the Scientific culture unit in order to report on knowledges and skills developed in the different research projects.
• Astronomical Observatory of Cantabria. The Astronomical Observatory of Cantabria is a center of the Consejería de Medio Ambiente del Gobierno de Cantabria managed by the Centro de Investigación del Medio Ambiente (CIMA). The development of different activities of the Observatory is a joint collaboration between the University of Cantabria and the Agrupación Astronómica Cántabra (AstroCantabria). The Astronomical Observatory of Cantabria is located on the Southern edge of the Comunidad Autónoma de Cantabria, on the high plateau of La Lora (Valderredible county). The Observatory aims to become a center of reference for scientific, observational, educational and public outreach activities in Cantabria.