Facility for Rare Isotope Beams

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The Facility for Rare Isotopes Beams (FRIB) will be a new scientific accelerator facility for nuclear science, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC), Michigan State University (MSU), and the State of Michigan.
Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB)
General information
Type National User Facility
Address 640 South Shaw Lane, East Lansing, MI 48824
Town or city East Lansing, Michigan
Country United States
Coordinates 42°43'29.2116"N 84°28'25.78"W
Completed June 2022, managing to early completion in fiscal year 2021
Cost US$730,000,000
Owner Michigan State University
Technical details
Floor area 220,160 sq ft
Design and construction
Architecture firm SmithGroup JJR
Main contractor Barton Malow
FRIB Website
On 11-12 July 2018, the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams accelerated first beam in three of forty-six superconducting cryomodules (painted green). Beam in the warm radio-frequency quadrupole was previously accelerated in September 2017.
The FRIB cryogenic plant made its first liquid helium at 4.5 kelvin (K) on 16 November 2017. Photo courtesy of MSU Communications and Brand Strategy.

The Facility for Rare Isotopes Beams (FRIB) will be a new scientific accelerator facility for nuclear science, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC), Michigan State University (MSU), and the State of Michigan. Under construction on the MSU campus and to be operated by MSU as a DOE-SC national user facility, FRIB will provide intense beams of rare isotopes (that is, short-lived atomic nuclei not normally found on Earth). FRIB will enable scientists to make discoveries about the properties of rare isotopes to advance knowledge in nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions of nuclei, and applications of rare isotopes for society. Construction of the FRIB conventional facilities began in early spring 2014. Final design of the technical systems is underway and technical construction started in the fall of 2014. The total project cost is baselined at $730M with project completion in June 2022.[1]

FRIB is expected to provide research opportunities for an international community of university and laboratory scientists, postdoctoral associates, and graduate students. FRIB will provide researchers with the technical capabilities to study the properties of rare isotopes, and to put this knowledge to use in various applications, including in materials science, nuclear medicine, and the fundamental understanding of nuclear material important to nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship. More than 20 working groups specializing in experimental equipment and scientific topics have been organized through the FRIB Users Organization.[2]

DOE-SC determined that the establishment of a Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) is a high priority for the future of U.S. nuclear science research. It is the first recommendation in the 2012 National Academies Decadal Study of Nuclear Physics: Nuclear Physics: Exploring the Heart of the Matter. The priority for completion is listed in the 2015 Long Range Plan for Nuclear Science: Implementing Reaching for the Horizon by the DOE/NSF Nuclear Science Advisory Committee.

This photo from March 4, 2017, shows the construction of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams.


DOE-SC announced the selection of Michigan State University to design and establish FRIB on December 11, 2008 after a rigorous merit review process including a written application, oral presentations, and site visits.[1]

The project earned Critical Decision 1 (CD-1) approval in September 2010 which established a preferred alternative and the associated established cost and schedule ranges.[2]

On August 1, 2013, DOE-SC approved the project baseline (CD-2) and the start of civil construction (CD-3a), pending a notice to proceed. Civil construction could not start under the continuing appropriations resolution, which disallowed new construction starts.[3]

January 18, 2014 the appropriations bill passed both houses of congress.

Following the passage of the FY2014 appropriation, DOE-SC issued a notice to proceed on January 22, 2014, allowing the start of civil construction.[4]

On February 25, 2014 the board of the Michigan Strategic Fund[5] met at Michigan State University and approved nearly $91 million to support the construction of FRIB.[6]

FRIB marked the official start of civil construction with a groundbreaking ceremony March 17, 2014. In attendance were representatives from the Michigan delegation, State of Michigan, Michigan State University, and the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. Technical construction started in October 2014, following a CD-3b approval by DOE-SC.

In March 2017, FRIB achieved beneficial occupancy of civil construction, and technical installation activities escalated as a result.

In September/October 2017, the front end with the ion source and low-energy beam transport were completed.

The FRIB cryogenic plant made its first liquid helium at 4.5 Kelvin (K) in November 2017. Liquid helium makes FRIB’s accelerator cavities superconducting and is needed to operate FRIB’s superconducting linear accelerator.

The 4 K cryogenic plant was completed in December 2017, and in July 2018, following two days of commissioning, beams of argon and krypton were accelerated in the first three superconducting cryomodules to the Key Performance Parameters required at project completion.

In March 2015, workers poured nearly 3,600 cubic yards of concrete into the linear accelerator tunnel. Photo courtesy of MSU Communications and Brand Strategy.

Cryomodule production is now at peak capacity, with the project team building twelve cryomodules per year.

In March 2017, FRIB achieved beneficial occupancy of civil construction.


  1. ^ "Fact Sheet". Department of Energy. Retrieved 12 Nov 2008.
  2. ^ Miller, Matthew. "Feds OK design concept for MSU nuclear physics facility" (PDF). Lansing State Journal. Retrieved 9 Sep 2010.
  3. ^ Glasmacher, Thomas. "DOE Office of Science Approves CD-2 and CD-3a". FRIB. Retrieved 5 Aug 2013.
  4. ^ Glasmacher, Thomas. "FRIB Construction to Begin in Early Spring". FRIB. Retrieved 23 Nov 2016.
  5. ^ "Michigan Strategic Fund | About MEDC | Michigan Business".
  6. ^ Miller, Matthew. "State OKs 91M for MSUs FRIB". Lansing State Journal. Retrieved 25 Feb 2014.

See also


  • Eugenie Samuel Reich (2011-08-30). "Isotope factory accelerates". Nature.
  • Lori Higgins (2011-01-18). "Nuclear research has MSU beaming". Detroit Free Press.
  • Marisa Schultz (2008-12-12). "MSU awarded $550M isotope lab". Detroit News.
  • Adrian Cho (2008-12-11). "Michigan State Picked for Half-Billion-Dollar Accelerator". Science.

External links

  • Facility for Rare Isotope Beams project
  • FRIB Users Organization
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