The Department of Nuclear Physics houses two accelerators which operate as a National Facility, with the accelerator laboratories making up part of the Australian Collaboration for Accelerator Science (ACAS). The 14UD Pelletron electrostatic accelerator and the superconducting linear accelerator produce charged atoms (ions) with up to 10% of the speed of light. This is enough to overcome the electrostatic repulsion between atomic nuclei, and initiate nuclear reactions.
The 14UD accelerator, housed in a 40m tall tower, can operate at over 15 million Volts, and delivers ion beams with pulse widths from a nanosecond to seconds. Beam energies can be doubled by a superconducting linear post-accelerator (LINAC). The varied interactions of beam nuclei with target nuclei are studied using state-of-the-art detector arrays, developed in-house, and located at the ends of the 10 beam lines.
Our nuclear structure research investigates the properties of, and interactions between individual excited states of metastable nuclei, whilst the complex interactions between colliding nuclei are the subject of nuclear reaction dynamics studies. In our applied research, the accelerated beams are used in AMS measurements and in advanced materials characterization, to investigate subjects as diverse as landform evolution and internal electric fields in semiconductors.
These main areas of research are complementary, overlapping in terms of shared techniques, and the understanding achieved of interrelated aspects of nuclear behaviour. Further information about the facility can be found in our department brochure (4.52MB PDF). If you wish to receive a hard copy of this brochure, please contact our administrator with your postal address and a copy will be forwarded to you.