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Accelerator-Based Low-Energy Research

Program Head: Paul Fallon

The study of atomic nuclei is central to our understanding of the world around us.  Comprising 99.9% of the visible matter in the universe nuclei are, in multiple aspects, central to fundamental questions in physics, such as our understanding of the origin of the elements and how complex many-body quantum systems organize.  Their properties depend sensitively on the number of protons (Z) and neutrons (N), and much of what we know about them comes from the measurement and characterization of their excitation modes and energy levels. Understanding nuclear properties, their role within the cosmos, and more broadly their application for society, requires measurements on elements and isotopes at the limits of their mass (N+Z), charge (Z), and β-decay stability (N-Z). 

Our program is focused on measuring the properties of the heaviest elements to establish the limits of their existence and their structure, and on investigating the effects of weakly bound nucleons and large neutron excess (or deficiency) on nuclear shell structure and collective degrees of freedom. We also carry out a wide range of experimental and nuclear data evaluation activities to address the needs of the basic and applied nuclear science community.

We develop, construct, and utilize advanced instrumentation for this work including the gamma-ray tracking arrays GRETINA and GRETA, and the heavy element mass separators BGS and FIONA.

Research is carried out locally at the 88-Inch Cyclotron (LBNL’s high-intensity stable-beam accelerator), at the ATLAS/CARIBU facility, and at the rare-isotope beam facilities FRIB at Michigan State University, the Rare Isotope Beam Factory (RIBF) at RIKEN, and the ISAC Facility at TRIUMF. Our program has close connections to the U.C. Berkeley Nuclear Engineering Department and the 88-Inch Cyclotron is an ideal facility for attracting and training students in basic nuclear and applied nuclear science.

Details on our research activities can be found at: