The Quest: Exploring New, Unexplored Regions of the Nuclear Chart
Especially critical are experiments with rare isotope beams . . . Yet, the field is still in its infancy and limited by no access to the rarest isotopes . . . To address this limitation [requires] a next-generation Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), which will deliver the highest intensity beams of rare isotopes available anywhere.
—The Frontiers of Nuclear Science
The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) will be a new national user facility for nuclear science, funded by the Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC), Michigan State University (MSU), and the State of Michigan. Under construction on campus and operated by MSU, FRIB will provide intense beams of rare isotopes—shortlived nuclei no longer found on Earth. FRIB will enable scientists to make discoveries about the properties of these rare isotopes in order to better understand the physics of nuclei, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions, and applications for society. As the next-generation accelerator for conducting rare isotope experiments, FRIB will allow scientists to advance their search for answers to fundamental questions about nuclear structure, the origin of the elements in the cosmos, and the forces that shaped the evolution of the universe.
Located at MSU—home of the top-ranked U.S. nuclear physics graduate program—FRIB will join the DOE-SC family of “discovery machines,” world leaders in facilitating breakthroughs in our understanding of the world in which we live. In creating this new one-of-a-kind facility, FRIB builds upon the expertise and achievements of the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL), a National Science Foundation (NSF) user facility at MSU. Since 2001, NSCL’s coupled cyclotron facility, one of the world’s most powerful rare isotope user facilities, has been conducting experiments on rare isotopes, elevating our understanding of nuclei to new levels. FRIB looks beyond NSCL’s discoveries to envision the next-generation technology needed for next-generation rare isotope experiments. The foundation of this vision—now the design of FRIB—is to use fast, stopped, and reaccelerated rare isotope beams produced by fragmentation to yield consistently high intensities of beams in minimal beam development times.
FRIB is a complex, interdisciplinary enterprise that calls upon the expertise, aspirations, and resources of a host of collaborators. Its origin and ongoing operation rests on a strong partnership among DOE-SC, MSU, and national laboratories, all committed to fundamental research into the properties of atomic nuclei, particularly rare isotopes. FRIB also enjoys a strong partnership with future users, meeting with them regularly at events designed for planning, sharing information, and identifying opportunities. FRIB users—researchers from universities, industries, federal laboratories, and non-profits from around the world—provide expert guidance to the FRIB project team. From these partnerships radiate the networks of scientists and knowledge that will fulfill the promise FRIB represents. These networks will deliver discoveries, develop applications for society, and educate the next generation of nuclear scientists who will advance the benefits of rare isotope science for generations to come.
Progression of Experimental Facilities at MSU
|1982||K500 (heavy ions)|
|1988||K1200 (superconducting cyclotron)|
|1990||A1200 beams (in-flight rare isotopes)|
|2000||Coupled cyclotron facility (one of the world’s|
most powerful rare isotope facilities)
|2005||LEBIT (Low Energy Beam and Ion Trap)|
(stopped rare isotopes)
|2013||ReA3 (reaccelerated rare isotopes)|
|2022||FRIB (fast, stopped, reaccelerated rare isotopes)|
An architectural rendering shows the baselined conventional facilities design of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams.
Layout of the accelerator and experimental systems and the experimental areas of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams.
An artist rendering of the FRIB building as seen from the intersection of Bogue and Wilson Streets.