The Nuclear Physics program supports the operation of the following national scientific user facilities:
- Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC):
RHIC at Brookhaven National Laboratory is a world-class scientific research facility that began operation in 2000, following 10 years of development and construction. Hundreds of physicists from around the world use RHIC to study what the universe may have looked like in the first few moments after its creation. RHIC drives two intersecting beams of gold ions head-on, in a subatomic collision. What physicists learn from these collisions may help us understand more about why the physical world works the way it does, from the smallest subatomic particles, to the largest stars.
- Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF):
The CEBAF at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, is a world-leading facility in the experimental study of hadronic matter. Based on superconducting radio-frequency (SRF) accelerating technology, CEBAF is the world's most advanced particle accelerator for investigating the quark structure of the atom's nucleus. To probe nuclei, scientists use continuous beams of high-energy electrons from CEBAF. They also use the advanced particle-detection and ultra-high-speed- data acquisition equipment in CEBAF's three experimental halls.
- Argonne Tandem Linear Accelerator System (ATLAS):
ATLAS is a national user facility at Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Illinois. The ATLAS facility is a leading facility for nuclear structure research in the United States. It provides a wide range of beams for nuclear reaction and structure research to a large community of users from the US and abroad. The full range of all stable ions can be produced in ECR ion sources, accelerated in the world’s first superconducting linear accelerator for ions to energies of 7-17 MeV per nucleon and delivered to one of several target stations. About 20% of the beam-time is used to generate secondary radioactive beams. These beams are used mostly to study nuclear reactions of astrophysical interest and for nuclear structure investigations. Users of ATLAS take advantage of the existing experimental equipment such as, for example, the Canadian Penning Trap (CPT), the Fragment Mass Analyzer (FMA), the magnetic spectrograph and Gammasphere. Beam lines are also available for experiments where Users bring their own equipment. The Physics support group is available to assist the Users in all preparations for their measurements.
Other Nuclear Physics facilities that support collaborative research include:
- Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory (TUNL):
Located on the campus of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and includes: (i) the High Intensity Gamma-Ray Source (HIGS), (ii) the Tandem Laboratory, and (iii) The Laboratory for Experimental Nuclear Astrophysics (LENA).
- Texas A&M Cyclotron Institute:
The Texas A&M Cyclotron Institute is jointly supported by the Nuclear Physics program and the State of Texas. The Institute conducts basic research, educates students in accelerator-based science and technology, and provides technical capabilities for a wide variety of applications in space science, materials science, analytical procedures, and nuclear medicine.
- University of Washington Tandem Van de Graaff:
The University of Washington Tandem Van de Graaff accelerator in Seattle, Washington, provides precisely characterized proton beams for extended running periods for research in fundamental nuclear interactions and nuclear astrophysics. The accelerator is part of the Center for Experimental Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics (CENPA) at the University of Washington in Seattle.
- The 88-Inch Cyclotron:
The 88-Inch Cyclotron, located at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) , supports ongoing research programs in nuclear structure, astrophysics, heavy element studies, fundamental interactions, symmetries, and technology R&D by LBNL and U.C. Berkeley. Major instrumentation under development at the 88-Inch Cyclotron includes GRETINA, the next generation Gamma Ray Energy Tracking Array, and VENUS, a third-generation superconducting Electron Cyclotron Resonance (ECR) ion source, which is the prototype for the Rare Isotope Accelerator (RIA). The 88-Inch Cyclotron is also the home of the Berkeley Accelerator Space Effects Facility (BASEF), which provides well-characterized beams of protons, heavy ions and other medium energy particles which simulate the space environment. The National Security Space (NSS) community and researchers from other government, university, commercial and international institutions use these beams to understand the effect of radiation on microelectronics, optics, materials, and cells.
Click here for more information on the facilities supported by the Nuclear Physics program.