About FRIB

Michigan State University (MSU) operates the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) as a user facility for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC), supporting the mission of the DOE-SC Office of Nuclear Physics. The establishment of FRIB was funded by DOE-SC, MSU, and the State of Michigan, and user facility operation is supported by the DOE-SC Office of Nuclear Physics. Hosting what is designed to be the most powerful heavy-ion accelerator, FRIB enables scientists to make discoveries about the properties of rare isotopes (that is, short-lived nuclei not normally found on Earth), nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions, and applications for society, including in medicine, homeland security, and industry.

This video — The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams at MSU — explains the history of FRIB, its role in research and education, and its future in rare-isotope discoveries. It includes an animated sequence to help viewers understand what FRIB is about.

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

FRIB opportunity

FRIB enables scientists to make discoveries about the properties of 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 allows 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.

FRIB foundation

Located at MSU—home of a top-ranked U.S. nuclear physics graduate program—FRIB is a DOE-SC scientific user facility that provides researchers with the most advanced tools of modern science. 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. 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 partnerships

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 users, meeting with them regularly at events designed for planning, sharing information, and identifying opportunities. FRIB users—researchers from universities, industries, federal laboratories, and nonprofits from around the world—provide expert guidance to the FRIB Laboratory team. From these partnerships radiate the networks of scientists and knowledge that fulfill the promise FRIB represents. These networks 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.

Graduate student opportunities 

Best nuclear physics programs

Michigan State University (MSU) operates the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), a world-class research, teaching, and training center that combines cryogenics, accelerator, and superconducting radio frequency sciences and technology. FRIB is part of MSU’s nuclear physics graduate program, which is nationally top-ranked according to the U.S. News & World Report. Additionally, each year about 10 percent of the nation's nuclear science PhD holders are educated at MSU.

In addition to classroom teaching, the students are trained on the cutting-edge technologies and advancements in their fields of study. Students will be certified, well-trained, and ready for productive careers in areas where there are critical workforce needs nationally.

Ready to apply or have questions? Please apply and inquire through our FRIB graduate studies page at frib.msu.edu/grad