On-Line Isotope Mass Separator

The On-Line Isotope Mass Separator, also known as the ISOLDE Radioactive Ion Beam Facility, is a facility located at CERN on the PS Booster. It started operating in 1967 and was rebuilt twice with major upgrades in 1974 and 1992.

ISOLDE (Isotope Separator On Line DEtector)[1] is dedicated to producing radioactive nuclei for a number of applications covering nuclear, atomic, molecular and solid-state physics, but also biophysics and astrophysics. The large variety of available species allows the systematic study of atomic and nuclear properties and exotic decays far from the line of stability. As of 2006, more than 60 physics experiments are active there.

Radioactive nuclei are produced at ISOLDE by impinging a high energy beam of protons on a stationary target. There are a number of target materials depending on the desired final species. Collisions between the proton beam and the target produce a variety of fragments, which are extracted and filtered to yield the desired isotope. The time required for extraction places a lower limit on the half life of isotopes which can be produced by this method. Once extracted, the isotopes are directed either to one of several detectors, an isotope harvesting area, or to the REX accelerator for acceleration to higher energies.

The facility is operated by the ISOLDE Collaboration comprising CERN and 9 European countries.

One of the major experiments in ISOLDE is the MINIBALL-setup. An upgrade of the post-acceleration system is currently on-going, ready to produce energetic Radioactive-Ion Beams (RIBs) of up to 10 MeV per nucleon in 2018.

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