Science

FRIB is the world’s leading rare isotope facility. It will open new nuclear science frontiers and make possible a range of new nuclear science opportunities. FRIB’s nuclear science program enables scientists to make discoveries about:

  • the properties of rare isotopes,
  • nuclear astrophysics,
  • fundamental interactions, and
  • applications for society, including in medicine, homeland security, and industry.

Experimental nuclear physics: Through leading-edge research, FRIB allows scientists to:

  • map the nuclear landscape,
  • understand the forces that bind nucleons into nuclei,
  • answer questions about the astrophysical origin of nuclear matter, and
  • address societal needs related to nuclear science and technology.

Experimental nuclear chemistry: At FRIB, scientists:

  • 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.

Byproduct radionuclides from FRIB are collected and purified for use as research tools in other areas like nuclear medicine, biosystems radiotracing, and nuclear data for security applications.

Accelerator science and engineering: Particle accelerators are used in discovery science, medicine, and high-tech industry. At the heart of FRIB is a high-power superconducting linear accelerator that has been demonstrated to accelerate ion beams to more than half the speed of light to strike a target, creating rare isotopes. FRIB is poised to be the world’s most powerful rare isotope beam facility, with unprecedented opportunities to study the vast unexplored potential of more than 1,000 new rare isotopes never before produced on Earth — more than double what is currently possible.

FRIB’s accelerator science and engineering program trains the next generation of accelerator scientists and engineers to fulfill critical workforce 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: In computational physics, researchers create more accurate models of scientific phenomena—from what happened in the microseconds after the Big Bang to how long a radioactive nucleus will live before it decays.

FRIB experiments align with national science priorities articulated by federal advisory panels.

The 2015 Long-Range Plan Report describes science questions that can be addressed under four main themes: