A Low-EneRgy Nuclear Interaction Chamber, LERNIC, has been developed to be used as an active target system for nuclear astrophysics experiments. LERNIC is a position and time sensitive detector system based on the low-pressure MWPC technique. While the astrophysically relevant nuclear reaction processes at stellar burning temperatures are dominated by radiative captures, in this experimental scheme we will measure the time-reversed processes. Due to the transformation of phase space, the photodisintegration cross-sections are up to two orders of magnitude higher. The main advantage of this new target-detector system is a capability to operate at high intensity photon beams, high sensitivity to the low-energy, highly ionizing particles and insensitivity to the γ-rays and minimum ionizing particles, thus allowing us to detect only the products of the nuclear reaction of interest. The main disadvantage of this detector is a density several orders of magnitude lower than conventional gas targets. It can be compensated by using multi-module detector system and highly directed, intense, laser Compton backscattered γ-ray beam. The test results of the prototype detector as well as the possibility of measurement of the cross section of γ + 16O → 12C + α reaction are discussed.
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