The gamma ray CIEMAT group of the Unit for Fundamental Research is involved in the MAGIC and CTA imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes for the observation of very high energy (VHE) gamma rays from the ground.

The group has been involved for many years in the MAGIC experiment, a pair of telescopes on the Canarian island La Palma that pionered the detection of gamma rays from the ground below energies of 100 GeV. MAGIC started operations in 2004. Some of its most significant results are the discovery of the first variable gamma-ray binary, the first detection of a pulsar at VHE and the discovery of gamma rays above 1 TeV, detection of the farthest Active Galactic Nuclei and application to the measurement of the Extrgalactic Background Light, detection of a plausible counterpart for a neutrino source and discovery of VHE emission from a Gamma Ray Burst.

CIEMAT has contributed to the analysis software and onsite computing system of MAGIC and is responsible for the control software that operates the telescopes. The official data center of MAGIC is installed at PIC (Port d'Informació Científica), a center co-financed by IFAE and CIEMAT. The group is very active in developing instrumentation for Intensity Interferometry and analysing the corresponding observations.

The gamma ray group is also part of the CTA Consortium since its creation and is composed of a multidisciplinary team of researchers, engineers and technicians.

The group has two main activities: the development of CTA instrumentation and their scientific exploitation.


Regarding the development of instrumentation, the main activity of the group is the design and construction of critical elements of the CTA large size telescope. In particular the CIEMAT is responsible for the mechanical and environmental control system of the camera, the camera signal synchronization distribution system, and the highest level trigger decision of the  camera implemented in a chip. Furthermore, CIEMAT performs the production of 80% of the mobile components that allow the azimuthal rotation of the telescope, which have to support the 100 tons of weight of the telescope.

In respect of the scientific exploitation, the group develops algorithms for real-time analysis with the goal to react on changes in the properties of the region of the sky under observation. In addition, the group also develops deep-learning algorithms that will improve the sensitivity and resolution of the CTA telescopes for the study of stationary sources.