Inauguration of the Factory of superheavy elements
News, 26 March 2019
On 25 March 2019, in the frames of the regular session of the Committee of Plenipotentiaries of the JINR Member States held on this day in Dubna, the ceremonial opening of the experimental hall of the Factory of superheavy elements and launch of its basic facility – the DC-280 cyclotron – were held.
Festive events started near the new experimental building of the SHE Factory. JINR Director Academician V. A. Matveev delivered his speech in which he congratulated the international staff of the Joint Institute on bringing into operation of the new world-level basic facility of JINR and expressed his sincere gratitude to the FLNR team for conducted research and creation of the unique physical instrument – the Factory of superheavy elements. V. A. Matveev noted the symbolism of the Factory’s launch in the year proclaimed by the UN General Assembly and UNESCO the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements.
The ceremonial opening of the Factory of superheavy elements was attended by CP Chairman, Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation M. M. Kotyukov, members of the JINR Committee of Plenipotentiaries, representatives of the JINR Directorate and JINR Laboratories, Head of the city of Dubna M. N. Danilov and Chairman of the City Council of Deputies S. A. Kulikov. Representatives of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) also participated in the event.
A symbolic red ribbon of the Factory’s experimental building was cut by JINR Director Academician V. A. Matveev, CP Chariman M.M. Kotyukov, Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Bulgaria Professor L. Kostov, who headed the CP in years of the Factory’s construction, as well as Director of the UNESCO Division of Science Policy and Capacity Building Peggy Efua Oti-Boateng and President of the CERN Council Ursula Bassler.
Then, the guests had an excursion during which Director of the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions Professor S. N. Dmitriev introduced to them the major basic facility of the Factory of superheavy elements – the DC-280 cyclotron.
“This accelerator exceeds parameters and the beam’s intensities of all facilities in other centres of the world in this field. It at least ten times exceeds what we already have in our Laboratory. It opens up brand-new opportunities in both synthesis of new elements and study of their properties,” noted FLNR Director S. N. Dmitriev during the opening ceremony.
Later on, participants of the event gathered in the FLNR Conference Hall where Scientific Leader of the Laboratory Academician Yu. Ts. Oganessian made a report on the history of synthesis of superheavy elements and prospects opened up by the launch of the Factory of superheavy elements.
Ceremonial launch of the DC-280 was made via the live video-session with the cyclotron’s control room. The command to launch the DC-280 cyclotron was given by V. A. Matveev. S. N. Dmitriev directed the process of accelerating and tracing the beam, and having demonstrated the ejected beam on the luminophor, proclaimed the launch of the new JINR accelerator DC-280. M. M. Kotyukov, P. E. Oti-Boateng and U. Bassler congratulated the staff of the Joint Institute on this significant event.
CP Chairman, Minister of Science and Higher Education of Russia M. M. Kotyukov in his congratulatory speech said, in particular: “I am very happy that we witness this memorable event. This is the result of our joint work. It is the merit of the Institute’s staff members who in fairly short time managed to obtain such a serious result. This solution combines science, engineering and most advanced technologies. It is the result of the large multinational scientific and technological cooperation. It is our joint big victory achieved by scientists, engineers, craftsmen, technologists. I have no doubts that the interest to what is happening in Dubna will be annually increased. I have no doubts that this project will bring us numerous new and positive solutions and achievements.”
“We are happy to be a part of such an important project,” Peggy Efua Oti-Boateng, Director of the UNESCO Division of Science Policy and Capacity Building, highlighted.
“It is fantastic to witness this event – the launch of the new cyclotron in Dubna where superheavy elements have been discovered. I congratulate all attendees and wish great discoveries,” Ursula Bassler, CERN Council President, noted.
The Factory of superheavy elements is created on the basis of the DC-280 heavy ion accelerator, the world-leader among accelerators of this type. The designed intensity of accelerated heavy ion beams produced at the DC-280 accelerator will reach 60 trillion ions per second that 10 times exceeds intensities achieved at the operating facilities all over the world. Synthesis of new superheavy elements with numbers 119 and 120, which will become the first elements of the 8th period of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements, is one of the key tasks of the new accelerating complex. The start of experiments on syntesis of element 120, in which scientists from the USA, European Union states, Japan and China will take part, is planned for the second half of 2019. The SHE Factory will be a world platform for future study of superheavy nuclei and will strengthen the authority of Russia and all JINR Member States as leaders in the fields of synthesis and study of superheavy elements.
Cutting-edge experiments on synthesis of new chemical elements have been conducted at the accelerating complex of the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions since its establishment. For the past 20 years, 5 new superheavy elements with numbers 114 (flerovium), 115 (moscovium), 116 (livermorium), 117 (tennessine), and 118 (oganesson) have been discovered at JINR that concluded the 7th period of the Periodic Table. To discover heavier elements 119 and 120 as well as to study in detail nuclear and chemical properties of already known elements, it is necessary to significantly (by dozens of times) increase the effectiveness of conducted experiments. The further development of this scientific field is connected with implementation of the project of the first in the world “Factory of superheavy elements” at JINR. The Factory will be a world platform for future study of superheavy nuclei and will strengthen the authority of all JINR Member States as leaders in the fields of synthesis and study of superheavy elements.
Construction of the building of the Factory has been concluded, including all engineering systems providing stable and safe operation of the accelerating complex. Special attention in design and construction of the complex was paid to radiation and ecological security. The experimental equipment is placed in well-screened halls.
The Factory of superheavy elements is created on the basis of the DC-280 heavy ion accelerator, the world-leader among accelerators of this type. The accelerator was designed in JINR; many JINR Member States participated in the production of the accelerator’s bundles. The designed intensity of accelerated heavy ion beams of calcium-48 produced at the DC-280 accelerator will reach 60 trillion ions per second that 10 times exceeds intensities achieved at the operating facilities all over the world. Commissioning at the DC-280 accelerator has been finished. On 26 December 2018, the first beam of accelerated heavy ions of krypton was produced.
The first experimental facility of the Factory of superheavy elements is the new gas-filled separator. The key peculiarity of this facility is high effectiveness in capturing synthesized heavy nuclei that exceeds 60 % thus being twice higher than that achieved at separators of the previous generation. The separator was designed at JINR and was produced by the SIGMAPHI company (France). In 2018, assembling of major bundles of the separator was carried out.
Synthesis of new superheavy elements with numbers 119 and 120, which will become the first elements of the 8th period of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements, is one of the key tasks of the new accelerating complex. First experiments at the new accelerating complex are planned for the second half of 2019. Unique targets made of transuranium elements berkelium and californium necessary for carrying out these experiments will be produced by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Tennessee) and delivered here.
The full launch of the new accelerator, bringing into operation of the new separator along with highly effective detecting equipment will allow increasing the effectiveness of conducted research by dozens of times. It gives us the right to call the new accelerator complex the “Factory of superheavy elements”.
Photos by Elena Puzynina