Originally published in the CERN website.
CERN’s ISOLDE facility has been in operation for more than 50 years. It produces radioactive isotopes for studies of the structure of atomic nuclei and a variety of other purposes including medical applications. Now, Phase 2 of its HIE-ISOLDE upgrade has reached completion.
This will allow ISOLDE to accelerate radioactive beams to energies up to 10 MeV per nucleon (“nucleon” is the collective term for protons and neutrons in the nucleus); the pre-upgrade maximum energy was 2.8 MeV per nucleon. The increase in energy will help study a variety of nuclear reactions with radioactive isotopes, opening up new possibilities for nuclear-structure research.
The HIE prefix stands for “High Intensity and Energy”. With the end of Phase 2, the facility has completed an important part of its “Energy” upgrade. The “Intensity” upgrade is foreseen for Phase 3, and will allow ISOLDE to remain at the forefront of nuclear and astrophysics research for another ten to fifteen years.