The superconducting ring cyclotron (SRC) at the Radioactive Isotope Beam Factory (RIBF), a heavy ion accelerator facility at the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science, was registered in the Guinness World Records on April 11.
It holds the record for being the "Highest intensity beam energy cyclotron." The SRC is the culmination of Japan's technological capabilities based on the tireless research and development and innovative design by RIKEN engineers and researchers, which has now been recognized with this world record.
The SRC is the culmination of the cyclotron technology that has been built upon since Dr. Yoshio Nishina completed the first cyclotron in Japan in 1937. Moreover, this year marks the 90th anniversary of the invention of the cyclotron.
The RIBF project, with the SRC as the final stage accelerator, started in 1995, and the first beam was obtained from the SRC on December 28, 2006, reaching the highest energy in the world in March 2007. Various improvements were subsequently made to the equipment and operating techniques, and the beam intensity of particularly heavy elemental ions such as uranium was increased by a factor of more than 1,000, successfully exceeding the initial target of 6 x 1011 ions per second in 2020.
Using such high-intensity heavy ion beams, the cyclotron has produced numerous research results, including the discovery of more than 150 new isotopes, the collection of unstable nuclear data leading to the identification of the r-process (a model of the elemental synthesis process thought to occur during a supernova explosion), and the discovery of anomalies in magic numbers.
RIKEN plans to upgrade the beam intensity and take measures to prevent aging of the facility, and to make the best use of the SRC's highest performance to contribute to the advancement of science and technology in a wide range of fields.
■ Superconducting ring cyclotron (SRC): The world's first ring cyclotron that can generate a high magnetic field by introducing superconductivity into the electromagnet that is the heart of the cyclotron. The entire cyclotron is covered with a pure iron shield that has the function of self-shielding any leakage magnetic fields. It weighs a total of 8,300 tons.
It is the final stage accelerator of the RIBF, which can accelerate the beam up to 70% of the speed of light when it passes through it. In addition, by using superconducting coils to generate the magnetic field necessary for the cyclotron, the cyclotron can be operated using only 1/100th of the power required by conventional methods, thus achieving significant energy savings.
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