MSU’s New Facility for Rare Isotope Beams Will Accelerate Nuclear Research

The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), which will open this spring at Michigan State University in East Lansing, is expected to attract scientists from around the world to study atomic particles that have never been seen before on this planet.
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The FRIB at MSU is expected to attract scientists from around the world to study particles that have never been seen before on this planet. // Courtesy of MSU
The FRIB at MSU is expected to attract scientists from around the world to study particles that have never been seen before on this planet. // Courtesy of MSU

The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), which will open this spring at Michigan State University in East Lansing, is expected to attract scientists from around the world to study atomic particles that have never been seen before on this planet.

FRIB and its activities already are creating many down-to-earth benefits that should grow after the facility becomes fully operational.

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC), MSU, and the state of Michigan, invested in building FRIB. That investment has created jobs and is expected to contribute $4.4 billion for Michigan’s economy over the next two decades, according to the MSU Center for Economic Analysis.

Experiments at the facility will generate new knowledge about the makings of atomic nuclei and the origins of the universe as well as new technologies that are yet to be imagined for use in a variety of industries.

“The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams will be a game-changer, both for science and for the regional economy,” says Dr. Samuel L Stanley Jr., president of MSU. “Building on MSU’s legacy of research, innovation, and its top-ranked nuclear physics graduate program, FRIB offers vast potential for leaps in medicine and other vital fields.

“It will help train the next generation of cutting-edge scientists, bring some of the world’s most brilliant minds to the community and create knowledge economy jobs through applications of its technologies to improve our daily lives.”

Past discoveries in nuclear science have enabled important advances in medical technology, like MRI and PET machines, smoke detection in homes to keep families safe, and cell phone technology.

FRIB is designed to provide researchers with the tools to create and study thousands of new isotopes, or versions of elements, which can deepen the understanding of the universe and generate applications for medicine, nuclear security, and environmental science.

FRIB’s workforce already has showcased its talent and mettle, completing the 500,000-square-foot facility on time and on budget safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s also constructed what is believed to be the most powerful particle accelerator of its kind, opening the doors to discovery to a global nuclear science community.

Michigan State and FRIB also are working closely with state and regional economic development officials to maximize opportunities for future job creation. Private venture companies. already have leveraged Spartan accelerator technologies and talent to develop innovative commercial products for the medical and security industries.

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