NP Scientific User Facilities

Our office supports four major research facilities, and a number of smaller ones. These are located at national labs and research universities throughout the country, plus one in Canada.

RHIC - Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider

A portion of the two accelerators of RHIC

The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven Nation Laboratory is also known as the time machine because heavy ions like gold are smashed against each other at nearly the speed of the light to re-create the state of matter which only existed right after big bang. RHIC is also capable of accelerating and colliding polarized protons at high energy to study the spin structure of proton.

This 2.4 mile long racetrack-shaped collider consists of two accelerators where beams travel in opposite directions. Each of the two RHIC accelerators is primarily made up of thousands of superconducting magnets, which have to be operated at a temperature as low as 4 degree Kelvin to obtain zero resistivity to the electric current. These two accelerators also cross each other like a giant pretzel to provide interaction points where heavy ions can be brought in to head-on collisions.

For more details regarding RHIC, please go to the RHIC homepageExternal link

In addition to RHIC, the entire accelerator complex for RHIC also includes a 200 MeV Linear Accelerator, a Tandem Van de Graaff of two 15 kV accelerators, the Booster accelerator and the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron where beams are accelerated and injected into RHIC.

More information can be found at Collider/Accelerator homepageExternal link

CEBAF - Continuous Electron Beam Facility


Magnets and detector for Experimental Hall D

The Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) at Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility is used by scientists to probe the interior of the nucleus to study its properties. This powerful microscope allows scientists to take a close look at protons, neutrons as well as their constituents like quarks and gluons. This 7/8 mile long racetrack accelerator consists of two linear accelerators which are linked by arcs at the ends. Bending dipole magnets in both arcs guide electrons to circulate 5 times through two linear accelerators. These are constructed from superconducting accelerating structures that are cooled to 2.1 degrees Kelvin and operating at radio frequencies to boost the electrons to energies up to 11 billion electron volts (11 GeV).

More information can be found at CEBAF home pageExternal link



The GRETINA gamma-ray detector system at ATLAS

The Argonne Tandem Linear Accelerator System (ATLAS) is a leading facility for nuclear structure and nuclear astrophysics research in the Unites States. The full range of all stable ions can be produced and accelerated to energies of 9 to 20 MeV per nucleon, and delivered to one of several target stations equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation such as Gammasphere, the world's most powerful gamma-ray detector. ATLAS is used mostly to study the properties of the nucleus, essential information for understanding matter as well as the evolution of stars. Since its inception, the ATLAS facility has continually been upgraded in order to be at the forefront of nuclear research. One such upgrade is the Californium Rare Ion Breeder Upgrade (CARIBU). This facility provides for acceleration of fission fragments from a one Curie Cf-252 source to study the properties of neutron-rich nuclei, particularly those of relevance for the astrophysical rapid neutron capture process responsible for the production of a large fraction of the heavy elements in the Universe.

More information can be found at ATLAS home pageExternal link


Nuclear Physics Lab, University of Washington

The Nuclear Physics Laboratory Building

The Center for Experimental Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics (CENPA), also known as the Nuclear Physics Laboratory at the University of Washington, engages in a broad program of experimental physics research, ranging  from neutrino physics to precision experimental studies of gravity. The facility at CENPA includes an injector, a Van de Graaff electrostatic accelerator, and a superconducting linear accelerator. The research programs are either carried out at this facility, at other laboratories, or sites. Currently, CENPA is heavily involved in the neutrino research at Sudbury Neutrino Observatory in Canada, the KATRIN direct neutrino mass measurement in Germany, and the Majorana project searching for double beta decay at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.



More information can be found at NPL home pageExternal link

LBNL 88-inch Cyclotron

Control Room for the 88 inch Cyclotron

Situated in the center of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory campus, the sector-focused 88-inch cyclotron is the home for Berkeley Accelerator Space Effect Facility. Based on Dr. Lawrence's design of a sector-focused cyclotron, this 88-inch cyclotron has been in operation to provide positively-charged particles ranging from protons to heavy ions like uranium since 1962. During its long life, the 88-inch cyclotron has supported research programs like nuclear structure, fundamental interactions, radiation effects on living cells, microelectronics, optics and other materials. It has also been the center for technology development at LBNL and is currently engaged in the development of couple of major instrumentations like the next generation Gamma Ray Energy Tracking Array (GRETA) and third generation superconducting electron cyclotron resonance ion source. As one of the oldest accelerators, the 88-in cyclotron is also home of numerous student training programs.

More information can be found at 88-inch Cyclotron home pageExternal link.

TAMU Cyclotron Institute


Figure 1: Layout of the upgraded TAMU facility

The superconducting cyclotron at Texas A&M University, one of only six world wide, accelerates particles from hydrogen to uranium for nuclear-science research. Current studies cover a broad range from fundamental symmetries to reaction dynamics in heavy-ion collisions and the rates of nuclear reactions in stars. An upgrade of the facility is slated for completion in FY 2016, which will provide accelerated radioactive ion beams with energies not available elsewhere in the world. As part of the upgrade, a room temperature cyclotron (an 88" machine) has been refurbished and will be used to produce radioactive ions that will then be accelerated in the superconducting cyclotron. The facility includes three experimental areas that are equipped with spectrometers and detector arrays. The superconducting cyclotron also provides beams that are used to test electronics for space satellites.

More information about the facility can be found at TAMU Cyclotron home pageExternal link.



Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory


Schematic view of the High Intensity Gamma-Ray Source

Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory is a Department of Energy -funded laboratory with research faculty from three major universities within the Research Triangle area: Duke University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Located on the campus of Duke University, TUNL draws additional collaborators from many universities in the southeast, as well as from labs and universities across the country and all over the world




More information can be found at TUNL home pageExternal link.

Last modified: 7/8/2014 10:40:02 AM