Student opportunities: Accelerator Science and Engineering Traineeship

Launch your future with one-of-a-kind training at FRIB at Michigan State University

At the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) at Michigan State University, students participate in unique and exciting training and internship programs that lead to career success.

FRIB’s Accelerator Science and Engineering Traineeship (ASET) program provides practical training in accelerator science and engineering. Graduate students conduct research at the most advanced rare isotope research facility, and benefit from research support in MSU academic programs and at national laboratories. They use their breakthrough findings to improve medicine, homeland security, and industry.

Undergraduate students can participate in FRIB’s summer internship programs, which offer a variety of research opportunities and provide student financial support. These students work side by side with renowned Michigan State University faculty who study the fundamental interactions of rare isotopes and nuclear astrophysics.

Students are a part of these groundbreaking opportunities to make discoveries—and a difference—at Michigan State University.

Read about the undergraduate summer 2024 research opportunities available in the Accelerator Systems Division at FRIB.

Gain engineering and nuclear science expertise at FRIB

A world-class education, with specialties in engineering and nuclear science, is within reach through FRIB’s ASET program. Both graduate and undergraduate students can blend theory with practice by applying what they learn in the classroom directly to the lab. Graduate students work within a research group on a specific project as part of their thesis work. These opportunities help students stand out in the workforce by making real advancements in the fields of nuclear science and engineering.

Experience a top-ranked nuclear science program

Home to one of the most prestigious U.S. nuclear physics graduate programs, Michigan State University offers the most advanced tools of modern science, including the most advanced rare isotope research facility. Approximately 10 percent of the nation’s nuclear science PhD holders are educated at MSU each year—which means students have the opportunity to partner with some of the brightest minds in FRIB’s ASET program. This strong history of success is just one reason why the Carnegie Foundation classified MSU as an institution with very high research activity, one of only 146 nationwide.

Collaborate with leading experts

Through the ASET curriculum, students are trained and mentored by more than 20 Michigan State University faculty members who are renowned experts in the fields of nuclear science and engineering. Students also get to collaborate with more than 30 PhD scientists and engineers who work in ASET areas at FRIB. The training doesn’t end at MSU: upon completion of the ASET program, graduate students will be placed in a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory to continue their thesis research.

Utilize groundbreaking technology

New discoveries are possible because of revolutionary engineering technology at FRIB. The high-power accelerator speeds up ion beams to more than half the speed of light before they strike a target, creating rare isotopes. This technology provides unprecedented opportunities to study more than 1,000 new rare isotopes never produced on Earth—more than double what is currently possible. As a student in our ASET program, you’ll have access to this innovative technology to advance nuclear science and its applications to health, safety, and environmental improvements.

“The ASET program at Michigan State University allowed me to learn from experts in direct-current photoelectron guns and radio-frequency cavity technology so I can apply advanced techniques to the improvement of our ultrafast electron microscopy system.”
Joseph D. Williams
Graduate Research Assistant

Get started in the ASET program at FRIB

FRIB’s ASET program, for actively registered graduate students pursuing a PhD or master’s degree at Michigan State University in the Department of Physics and Astronomy or the College of Engineering; FRIB’s graduate fellowships, for qualified U.S. graduate students who wish to carry out their thesis research at FRIB; and FRIB’s summer internship program, for actively registered undergraduate students at Michigan State University, are open to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Questions? Please visit the FRIB graduate studies page.

Support for several kinds of graduate fellowships in ASET is provided by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC) Office of High Energy Physics, DOE-SC Office of Nuclear Physics, and the National Science Foundation.

Paid undergraduate summer 2024 research in the Accelerator Systems Division at FRIB

Project #1: Develop machine learning of superconducting radio frequency (SRF) linear accelerator (linac) 
Supervisors: Dr. Wei Chang and Dr. Shen Zhao

The student researcher will work with SRF physicists to work machine learning models to forecast linac SRF system fault events. The research work will involve processing a large data set of accelerator control. The work requires some level of CS background and programming experience. 

Project #2: Plasma surface cleaning of superconductor surface  
Supervisors Prof. Ting Xu, Dr. Walter Hartung and Dr. Sang-hoon Kim

Plasma cleaning the SRF cavity surface has been a hot topic in the SRF community. FRIB is developing a cleaning recipe for FRIB quarter-wave resonator (QWR) and half-wave resonator (HWR) cavities. The project is to work with SRF senior physicists to develop a recipe for QWR cavity. The work involves mechanical design, radio frequency (RF) measurement, optic measurement and data analysis.

Project #3: Build and test photocathode chamber
Supervisor: Dr. Taro Konomi 

The photocathode chamber is a critical device for a photo injection system. The chamber is used to coat cathode material to metal plugs under a high vacuum environment. The project is the re-assemble and check function of the photocathode chamber. The work involves mechanical assembly, high vacuum and cathode coating.  

Project #4: Superconducting magnet design and testing
Supervisor: Dr. Yoonhyuck Choi and Dr. Xiaoji Du

Superconducting magnets are widely used in FRIB both in the linear accelerator (linac) and experimental beamlines. The project is to learn EM design of simple solenoid and participant superconducting cold tests. The work involves simulation using 2D-3D code and work with cryogen and DC power supply.

Project #5: Beam parameter measurement and visualization
Supervisor: Prof. Peter Ostroumov and Dr. Qiang Zhao  

Measurement of beam parameters is an essential task in tuning and operating accelerators. This project will provide the student an opportunity to learn preliminary beam physics, to develop software for data acquisition, analysis, and visualization in beam parameter measurement, and to get some hands-on experience on the accelerator facilities at FRIB laboratory.

Project #6: Development of control screens 
Supervisor: Prof. Peter Ostroumov and Dr. Qiang Zhao 

FRIB is operating a world class heavy-ion superconducting linear accelerator (linac). It is important to efficiently set up and monitor the status of accelerator devices and beam parameters during beam study and operation. FRIB uses Control System Studio called Phoebus which provides a variety of tools and applications and is easy to learn and use. You will use Phoebus and develop graphical user interfaces to control devices and display data to facilitate beam tuning. For example, change magnet field, insert/withdraw a Faraday cup, plot/export live and archived data. Through the project, you will also get control room experience on a modern accelerator facility. 

Project #7: Multi-physics design of a radio-frequency quadrupole accelerating structure
Supervisor: Dr. Alexander Plastun

The MSU Reaccelerator facility is being upgraded toward versatility and availability of reaccelerated rare isotope beams. The project is to design a new accelerating structure for the radio-frequency quadrupole section of the accelerator. The research will cover electromagnetic, thermal and structural analysis of the resonant structure, as well as its multi-objective optimization.

Project #8: Data processing and visualization in high performance computation (HPC)
Supervisor: Prof. Yue Hao

In the high-performance computing for charged particles in an accelerator, huge amounts of data are generated by the simulation code. The data processing is an essential part of analyzing the simulation results. In this project, the student will learn and develop computation tools to process the data from HPC for machine learning purposes and explore the visualization schemes for the data.

Project #9: Dual frequency radio frequency (RF) cavities
Supervisor: Prof. Sergey Baryshev

Standard accelerating cavities and injectors use a cavity operating in a single TM mode, typically TM 010. Multiple modes in the same cavity can be mixed to achieve novel effects, e.g., electron beam energy reduction. Previous calculations demonstrated that when TM 010 (fundamental) and TM022 (a third order harmonic) mixed together it created a flat (like in DC injector) gradient profile thereby leading to improved beam qualities.

This summer project is dedicated to assembly and commissioning of 3+6 GHz (TM010+TM011, fundamental + second harmonic) copper cavities allowing to partition an input DC beam into a pulsed (or bunched) beam. The work will include testing and application of GHz solid state oscillators and amplifiers to power the cavities and characterization of the mode structure and input/output power balance measurements.

Project #10: Improving the reliability of the carbon stripper
Supervisor: Dr. Takuji Kanemura and Dr. Yoichi Momozaki

The carbon stripper involves a rotating, thin carbon foil in an ultra high vacuum chamber. The carbon foil is bombarded by heavy ion beams and gets heated. This heat causes variety of mechanical problems in the device. To improve the reliability of the stripper, we have an off-line mock-up with a laser to simulate the beam heating. The student will support the off-line experiments to identify the problems and find engineering solutions. The work involves assembling ultra high vacuum components, measuring temperatures, etc.

Project #11: Development of the next-generation lithium stripper
Supervisor: Dr. Takuji Kanemura and Dr. Yoichi Momozaki

In the lithium stripper, a single liquid jet hits onto a deflector, transforming the jet into a thin film (as you insert a spoon under a stream of running tap water). To improve the versatility, we are trying to develop a new scheme to form a similar fluid structure in which we use 2 colliding jets. We have a water setup to prove the concept and to do feasibility studies. The student will support the exploratory investigation of the water experiments. The work involves assembling mechanical components to support the water nozzles, PVC piping assembly, etc.