Ion accelerators at DCF

We invite academic institutions and industry to visit us in Cumbria and make use of this unique facility for their nuclear research. Our beam lines are available for rent in the Dalton Cumbrian Facility's ion-beam accelerator hall. Visiting researchers also have access to an adjoining building containing the analytical and inspection laboratories.

2.5 MV Pelletron Ion Accelerator

Our new 2.5 MV single-ended accelerator (NEC Model 7.5SH) is capable of accelerating ions to energies up to 2.5 MeV for protons, helium ions or heavier gas ions from the accelerator’s RF ion source.

It operates two beam lines which are configured to coincide with two beam lines from the existing 5 MV tandem accelerator to provide 2 dual beam irradiation end stations. 

These beam lines will be used primarily for radiation damage studies of materials that are of interest to the nuclear energy industry. The dual beam capability will allow researchers to replicate the damage environment experienced by materials in a high radiation field, where the presence of the ion radiation (typically proton or alpha irradiation) can interact with radiation damage mechanism and alter the process.  In these experiments the 2.5 MV single-ended accelerator will provide a proton or alpha rich radiation field whilst a heavy ion beam from the larger 5 MV tandem accelerator is used to create the radiation damage.

  • High current RF source for:

          - Up to 100μA of 1H+ (up to 2.5 MeV ions)

          - Up to 50μA of 4He+ (up to 2.5 MeV ions)

          - Lower currents of heavier gas elements

  • Two beam lines meeting with two of the existing 5 MV tandem Pelletron allowing for dual beam irradiations

This accelerator was installed at the end of 2015 and is currently undergoing final commissioning. We expect it to be operational after April 2016. 

Please contact for updated information.


5 MV tandem Pelletron Ion Accelerator

Our 5 MV tandem accelerator was installed in September 2012 and is capable of supplying 10 MeV protons and 15 MeV helium ions as well as higher energies of a variety of partially-stripped heavy (typically metal) ions, principally for research in nuclear energy. The accelerators are also suitable for research studied in a variety of  other areas – for example, in radiobiology and space missions.

The 5 MV ion accelerator operates six beam lines, three focused on radiation chemistry and three on materials damage. It has two ion beam sources; one for high current proton and alpha beams, with a second source for lower currents of heavier ions.

 High current TORVIS source for:

         - Up to 100μA of  1H+ (up to 10 MeV ions)

         - Up to 15μA of 4He2+ (up to 15 MeV ions)

  • Low current SNICS source for heavy ions
  • Six beam lines allowing flexible experimental setup
  • Two target vaults to facilitate parallel working

Beam lines

When the 2.5 MV accelerator is fully commissioned and installed, Dalton Cumbrian Facility will have a total of eight operational beam lines with six end stations available for irradiations, two of which will have dual beam irradiation facilities.

Facilities will include:

  • Lead shielded NNUF ‘hot cell’ for high current / high energy irradiations, with shielding for activated samples
  • A general purpose radiation chemistry end station with access to a collimator
  • An autoclave system for irradiation of fluids
  • Two dual beam end stations for irradiation with multiple ions
  • Rutherford Backscattering end station incorporating RBS and PIXE analysis for characterisation of samples
  • General purpose materials damage end station
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