Second separator for Superheavy Element Factory
Media, 19 January 2022
The Joint Institute for Nuclear Research is now preparing to commission a new separator of the Superheavy Element Factory (SHE Factory) in the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions. It is planned that the second Dubna Gas-Filled Recoil Separator, or DGFRS-III, will be put into operation in the first half of 2022. The first experiments at DGFRS-III in the chemical properties study of elements 112 and 114 are being conducted with the support of the megagrant of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation.
DGFRS-III aims to study the chemical properties of superheavy elements and nuclear spectroscopy of the heaviest nuclides. The main task of its predecessor – the DGFRS-II separator launched in 2020 – is to synthesise and study the properties of the radioactive decay of superheavy elements of the Periodic Table. It should be reminded that the gas-filled separator in FLNR was created at the U-400 cyclotron. 113 to 118 superheavy elements have been synthesised using it.
The DGFRS-III separator was shipped to Dubna in December 2020. In 2021, all its engineering systems, including the vacuum and cooling systems, power supply, control, were plugged in and debugged. The producer of the facility is the French company SIGMAPHI company, a JINR long-standing partner. Specialists of this company developed the facility jointly with JINR scientists.
At the end of 2021, the separator was commissioned, and test experiments started: first with alpha particles and then with a heavy-ion beam. These tests are successful and close to being concluded. After that, the separator will be ready for operation.
Nowadays, Swiss scientists from the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) are carrying out preparatory works on the creation of the detecting facility for the study of chemical properties of superheavy elements. It will be later mounted with the DGFRS-III separator. The delivery of the facility to Dubna is scheduled for March – early April 2022. In the near future, scientists of the Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions and the Paul Scherrer Institute are going to conduct an experiment to study the chemical properties of elements 112 (Sp) and 114 (Fl) of the Periodic System using a nuclear fusion reaction of 48Ca and 242Pu in May – June of this year.
It should be reminded that in 2020, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research became one of the winners of the competition for megagrant of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation with the project “Superheavy nuclei and atoms: limits of nuclear masses and the boundaries of the Periodic Table”. The scientific leader of the project is Academician Yu. Ts. Oganessian, Scientific Leader of the Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions JINR; the Executive Leader is A. V. Karpov, FLNR Scientific Secretary. The experiment on studying the chemical properties of elements 112 and 114 scheduled for the first half of 2022 is a key task of the year within this grant.
In March 2019, the Superheavy Element Factory was put into operation in the Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions and the DC-280 accelerator was launched. The first separator for this accelerator, namely DGFRS-II, was commissioned at the end of November 2020, after a series of test experiments. It was when the first working experiments started at the Factory that took place throughout 2021. Three chemical elements have been synthesised at the Factory: 12 (Cn), 114 (Fl), and 115 (Mc). It is noteworthy that the number of obtained nuclei of moscovium and flerovium was many times higher than the number of nuclei produced in laboratories around the world combined.