Be at the forefront of nuclear science at the world’s leading rare isotope research facility

The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) at Michigan State University opens new nuclear science frontiers and enables opportunities for discoveries in nuclear science.

Located in the heart of MSU’s campus, FRIB also offers unique opportunities for students to conduct research and train for meaningful careers.

But what is nuclear science—and what does it entail? Nuclear scientists seek answers to fundamental questions about the properties and behaviors of atomic nuclei, which isotopes can exist in nature, how they are formed in the universe, and how they can benefit humankind.

To carry out this work, FRIB’s nuclear science program provides world-leading opportunities to study rare isotopes and nuclear astrophysics, their use as probes of our most fundamental models of nature, and how they can be used in applications for the benefit of society, from medicine and homeland security to industry.

FRIB experiments align with national science priorities articulated by federal advisory panels while demonstrating and uncovering the many benefits of nuclear science.

The work completed within FRIB focuses on four main themes:

Explore opportunities in science at FRIB

Experimental nuclear physics

Experimental nuclear chemistry

Accelerator science and engineering

Computational science for accelerators

Find endless opportunities to discover and learn at FRIB

With FRIB’s new and advanced tools, instruments, and technology, it is the top rare isotope facility in the world.

At MSU, FRIB operates as a scientific user facility for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC), supporting the mission of the Office of Nuclear Physics.

So, what is nuclear science all about at FRIB? From experimental nuclear physics and chemistry to sophisticated computational simulations, FRIB’s nuclear science program provides the space for scientists and graduate students alike to carry out cutting-edge work.

Experimental nuclear physics

Through state-of-the-art research, FRIB allows scientists to uncover the many benefits of nuclear science and

  • study the structure of rare isotopes,
  • understand the forces that bind nucleons into nuclei,
  • answer questions about the astrophysical origin of the elements, and
  • address societal needs related to nuclear science and technology.

Experimental nuclear chemistry

Research in nuclear science and chemistry at FRIB is centered on the production and use of the most exotic, short-lived nuclei—some of which have never been observed before.

At FRIB, scientists can

  • probe how nuclear matter assembles itself in systems from nuclei to neutron stars,
  • understand neutron reactions important for homeland security and astrophysics, and
  • provide applications for society, including in medicine and industry.

As this work is completed, byproduct radionuclides from FRIB are collected and purified to become research tools in other areas of nuclear science, such as nuclear medicine, biosystems radiotracing, and nuclear data for security applications.

Accelerator science and engineering

The cornerstone of FRIB is its high-power, superconducting linear accelerator, which can accelerate ion beams to more than half the speed of light to strike a target and create rare isotopes.

FRIB trains the next generation of accelerator scientists and engineers to uncover many benefits of nuclear science and meet critical needs in

  • physics and engineering of large accelerators,
  • superconducting radio frequency accelerator physics and engineering,
  • radio frequency power engineering, and
  • large-scale cryogenic systems.

Computational physics

Through computational physics at FRIB, researchers work to develop more accurate models of scientific phenomena, from determining what happened in the microseconds after the Big Bang to the amount of time a radioactive nucleus will live before it decays.

Career outlook for nuclear science

A graduate degree in nuclear science—coupled with the real-world research experience gained at FRIB—prepares students for successful, rewarding careers in a wide array of settings.

This includes conducting research in the private sector, at universities, and national laboratories; teaching at the college level at institutions of all sizes; scientific policymaking; business and finance; and many others.

At MSU, PhD recipients enjoy a 100 percent job placement rate thanks to FRIB’s rigorous academics and strong national reputation. Join the ranks of FRIB’s successful alumni, who serve as staff scientists at national laboratories, researchers in the industry, university professors, and much more, exploring advances in cancer therapy, national security, environmental protection, and electronics.

 How do I study at FRIB?

FRIB provides unprecedented opportunities to study the vast, unexplored potential of more than 1,000 isotopes that have never been produced on Earth before now, positioning it to be the world’s most advanced rare isotope research facility.

To study and conduct research at FRIB, apply for one of the graduate programs through the appropriate affiliated department:

Then, please let FRIB know the chosen MSU program and area of research.

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Learn more about pursuing nuclear science at FRIB

Want to learn more? For further information about graduate student research at FRIB, please reach out to the appropriate FRIB faculty member:

 For general inquiries, please email

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