Experimental nuclear chemistry program

Make innovative discoveries through the research of experimental nuclear chemistry at FRIB

Advance the future of nuclear chemistry at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) at Michigan State University (MSU).
Nuclear chemistry is the study of the properties of atomic nuclei. It focuses on their basic properties, such as their structure, radioactive decay, and reactions, but also focuses on their application to society, security and medicine. At FRIB, students collaborate with world-renowned scientists to: 

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

Make innovative discoveries with FRIB

MSU’s experimental nuclear chemistry program opens a world of opportunity for studying the properties of and reactions with exotic, short-lived nuclei—some of which have never been observed before. Researchers from all career stages and backgrounds have the opportunity to participate in truly groundbreaking work that advances the field of nuclear chemistry. FRIB is a scientific user facility for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC), focused on world-class teaching, training, and research that aims to positively impact society’s health and safety. 

Experimental nuclear chemistry opportunities at FRIB

Home to a nationally top-ranked nuclear science graduate program, MSU draws nuclear experts from around the world. They work together to break frontiers by changing what’s possible: using what is designed to be the most powerful heavy-ion accelerator to produce rare isotopes, including those not normally found on Earth, for deeper experimentation and study. This one-of-a-kind research facility enables scientists to advance their research in topics like:

  • indirect measurements of neutron-induced reactions 
  • shapes and structures of short-lived radioisotopes using constraints on the pressure of dense nuclear matter 

Learn with the best in nuclear science

Each year, about 10 percent of the nation’s nuclear science PhD holders are educated at MSU. The university is an institution with very high research activity, one of only 146 as classified by the Carnegie Foundation. This strong history of success means students are supported and educated by the best of the best—noted scientists and researchers who continue to make breakthroughs in nuclear science that benefit society.

Explore uncharted territory in nuclear chemistry

At FRIB, high-energy beams react with target nuclei to produce new nuclear fragments with a distribution of sizes, some of which are unstable and unusual. The fast-moving fragments are passed through an isotope separator to produce beams of individual radioactive ions. The rare isotopes produced in these reactions are delivered to end stations where they are used in experimental tests of their properties and reactions.

Access groundbreaking technology

At FRIB, the high-power superconducting linear accelerator speeds up ion beams to more than half the speed of light to strike a target, creating rare isotopes. This technology provides unprecedented opportunities to study the unexplored potential of more than 1,000 new rare isotopes never produced on Earth—more than double what is currently possible. Researchers have access to this innovative technology to advance experimental nuclear chemistry and its societal applications in health, safety, and environmental improvements. 

Career outlook for nuclear chemistry jobs

The knowledge gained at MSU and the experience at FRIB prepares students for a wide range of nuclear chemistry jobs. Nuclear chemists may pursue nuclear chemistry careers in fields like: 

  • academia
  • nonprofit sectors
  • industry (from energy generation to radioisotope production and nuclear medicine)

How to get started in experimental nuclear chemistry at FRIB 

Students interested in conducting research in nuclear chemistry should apply to MSU’s Department of Chemistry