Experimental nuclear chemistry

Researchers at FRIB 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.

Research in nuclear chemistry that is centered on the production and use of the most exotic, short-lived nuclei provides the ability to produce beams of very exotic radioactive ions. Some of these short-lived nuclei have not been observed before.

At FRIB, high energy beams react with a target nuclei to produce new nuclear fragments with a distribution of sizes, some of which are unstable and unusual. The probability distributions of the products and the momenta, or velocities, of the fragments are distributed around that of the beam and can be predicted by models of the nuclear reaction. The fast-moving fragments are passed through an isotope separator to produce beams of individual radioactive ions.

The ease of transitions between different states of the atomic nucleus carry a wealth of information and can be used in a variety of applications ranging from describing the basic configuration of the nucleus’ constituent protons and neutrons to constraining the synthesis of heavy elements in energetic astrophysical events. astrophysical events. Nuclear properties are expected to vary significantly as a function of proton or neutron number as departure is made from stable nuclei.

Radionuclides are important tools for tracing biological, chemical, and physical processes. FRIB has the potential to supply unique radioisotopes that are otherwise difficult to produce. Read more on the radiochemistry page.