Indiana University Cyclotron Facility (1976-2010)

Indiana University Cyclotron Facility (1976-2010)

Description and history

The building which currently is called MES Hall was erected in 1970 to house one of the country’s major nuclear research facilities. The Indiana University Cyclotron facility (IUCF) consisted of a large four-sector cyclotron, capable of accelerating protons to 200 MeV, preceded by a smaller injector cyclotron of the same design. Construction of the accelerators was funded by the National Science Foundation.

The facility became operational in 1976 and reached the design energy in the fall of 1977. In addition to protons, the light ions d, 3.4He and 6,7Li were also accelerated. A polarized ion source was purchased from the Aukland Nuclear Accessory Company (ANAC). The beam was delivered to experimental stations. These originally contained a magnetic QDDM spectrometer and a large scattering chamber. Later a ‘beam swinger’ (1979), a ‘pion spectrometer’ (1980) and K600 spectrometer (1986) were added. A new high-intensity polarized ion source was commissioned in 1994 and superconducting spin precession solenoids were added in the beam line to the K600 spectrometer.

In 1993, the NSF announced the ramp-down of funding over a 5-year period. The last NSF award (31 M$) to operate the IUCF accelerators (including the Cooler) was from 1997 to 2003. After 1998, cyclotron operation was funded through medical and commercial use. The cyclotron delivered the last beam on December 5, 2014.


IUCF was operated as a user facility and scientists from other institutions were invited to submit research proposals. The proposals were assessed by a program advisory committee (PAC). For example, proposals evaluated by PAC13 in January 1982 were submitted by research groups from 44 institutions in 9 countries, involving 156 scientists.

Research at IUCF encompasses a wide range of topics in nuclear physics, the physics of beams and other areas. An overview of research at IUCF from 1976 to 1996 can be found in the Annual Scientific and Technical Reports.