Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB)

Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB)

FRIB, a ‘next generation’ nuclear structure and nuclear astrophysics accelerator due to come online in 2022, will enable scientists to make discoveries about the properties of rare isotopes, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions, and applications for society.
Ann Arbor, Michigan Location
2022 Start of Operations
(FY 2023) Number of Users


The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), at Michigan State University, is currently under construction with completion scheduled for 2022.  The accelerator is a superconducting linear accelerator which will accelerate nuclei from elements across the periodic table, up to those as heavy as uranium, to 200 MeV per nucleon or over half the speed of light.  The beam from the accelerator hits a target where the nuclei shatter producing exotic, short-lived isotopes.  Isotopes of interest are selected by an array of large magnets and directed to experimental halls to study their structure.   Once commissioned, FRIB will be the most powerful accelerator in the world for exploring the most exotic nuclei, many of which have never before been observed.


The Big Bang produced only the lightest elements in our Universe. All other elements were formed within stars or through violent events such as supernovas and neutron star mergers as the cosmos evolved. The nuclear reactions involved in producing the elements are believed to involve very rare versions of the elements that have yet to be observed. These are isotopes of the elements, which have a specific number of protons per nucleus but can have a range in the number of neutrons. The science goal at FRIB is to understand how neutrons and protons combine to form isotopes, how the structure of isotopes changes as the number of neutrons gets unusually large, and better understand the processes that populate the table of the elements. Over the last century ~2000 isotopes have been studied worldwide, using methods and equipment that scale with technology. FRIB will increase the number of isotopes available for study to ~5000.