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CERN Courier: VENUS reveals the future of heavy-ion sources


Welcome to Berkeley Lab's ECR Ion Source Group!



Our group is specialized in the production and transport of intense heavy-ion beams covering a wide range of beams and intensities for acceleration in the 88-Inch Cyclotron. Our ion sources produce record intensities for many high charge state heavy-ion beams. 


The 88-Inch Cyclotron is a sector-focused cyclotron fed by two Electron Cyclotron Resonance (ECR) high-charge-state ion sources (see figure), the LBL ECR and the AECR-U. The two high performance ECR ion sources enable the 88-Inch Cyclotron to accelerate beams of ions as light as hydrogen and as heavy as uranium.  

At the 88-Inch Cyclotron the historic demand for intense heavy ion beams has led to the development of several high performance ECR ion sources. The latest advancement is the currently commissioned superconducting ECR ion source VENUS (Versatile ECR ion source for NUclear Science)  - presently the world most powerful ECR ion source. VENUS is designed to produce high current, high charge state ion beams for the 88-Inch Cyclotron at LBNL. In addition, VENUS serves as the prototype ion source for the RIA front end. The goal of the RIA injector R&D program is the reliable production of intense medium charge state ion beams, e.g. 200euA of U30+, about six times the performance record held by the LBNL AECR-U.


The ECR ion sources also allow the efficient use of rare isotopes of stable elements, either from natural or enriched sources. A variety of metallic ion beams are routinely produced in our low temperature oven (up to 600C) and our high temperature oven (up to 2100C). Furthermore, the ability to produce "cocktails" (mixtures of beams) for detector calibrations and applied work adds to the flexibility of the 88-Inch Cyclotron accelerator.


Two radioactive ion beam initiatives are under development at the 88-Inch Cyclotron, BEARS (Berkeley Experiment with Accelerated Radioactive Species) and the IRIS project (14O experiment). Much of the experimental work is focused on improving the ionization efficiency of the ECR ion sources for radioactive isotopes and for rare stable isotopes. This includes optimization of the ion beam transport.