The human race has developed science and technology to satisfy its curiosity and answer some fundamental questions. RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science promotes science and technology related to "element transmutation" founded by Dr. Yoshio Nishina more than 80 years ago, and challenges two ultimate questions: "How are elements created in the universe?" and "Can human beings freely transmute elements?" By returning the research results obtained to society, we are trying to solve the environmental, energy and resource problems faced by humankind.
Earth is full of elements that originated in the universe. Heavy elements ranging from iron to uranium are thought to be born from supernova explosions or merging of neutron stars. The process of element formation is none other than the process of the change in number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus, center core of the atom. It is however, still unknown where and how the nucleosynthesis process occurred.
The RNC constructed the Radioactive Isotope Beam Factory (RIBF) to artificially synthesize a massive amount of short-lived neutron-rich radioactive isotopes (RI) that existed in the universe for an instant. Since its full operation started in 2007, the RIBF has boasted performance unparalleled in the world and produced many research results that attracted researchers from worldwide.
The RNC engages in basic science and technological development to change long-lived nuclides in the nuclear wastes to stable or short-lived ones. Utilizing the RIBF has enabled us to obtain nuclear transmutation data efficiently, and in parallel, start designing the next generation accelerator. Heavy ion beam produced at the RIBF has been utilized to manufacture radiopharmaceutical, for plant breeding and semiconductor testing, and applied for practical use in the fields of medicine, agriculture and IT.
The RIBF is supported by accelerator technology and isotope separation technology. The facility houses the superconducting cyclotron that accelerates the heavy ion beam with the world’s highest intensity up to uranium, and superconducting RI beam separator that collects and analyzes the RIs produced.
Nihonium, an RI successfully synthesized at the Nishina Center, was produced using the linear accelerator and BigRIPS located at the uppermost stream of the RIBF. With the completion of the upgrade of the linear accelerator and BigRIPS at the beginning of 2020, the RNC aims to synthesize new elements from element 119 and beyond.
By upgrading the RIBF, the RNC plans to dramatically improve its capacity to produce unknown RIs. With the upgrade, the RNC will make it its mission to promote research on nucleosynthesis of the elements in our universe and nuclear synthesis・transmutation, and lead as well as maintain and further advance excellence in our country’s transmutation science and technology.
April 1, 2020
The Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science