LBNL Office of science Department of Energy

Ion Beam Technology Group

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Accelerator Technology & Applied Physics Division

About Ion beam technology

The Ion Beam Technology Program was formed in 1993 to integrate several activities in which ATAP had built up special expertise—notably in the Bevalac (a heavy-ion synchrotron) and a program in magnetic fusion energy. The common theme is expertise in ion sources, low-energy ion acceleration systems, and plasma science.

Now part of the Fusion Energy Research Program and Heavy Ion Fusion Virtual National Laboratory, we continue seeking and developing opportunities to have a transformational impact in critical areas. Besides the efforts described here to address homeland-security vulnerabilities and to serve the hardware needs of the semiconductor and information-processing communities, one of our key responsibilities remains service to ion-accelerator-based projects in the Department of Energy and elsewhere.

Thanks in large part to our work on the multi-laboratory Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) team, we are widely regarded as the “go-to” laboratory for the technically challenging front end of an accelerator—the series of initial components that give a beam the highest-quality start. We stand ready to contribute to other national research priorities, such as a rare isotope accelerator, SNS upgrades, and advanced proton drivers for neutrino research.

Between January 2006 and May 2007, the work done by IBT staff has been reported in some 53 publications overall, 30 of which appeared in refereed proceedings and journals. The creativity and innovation of the staff is especially noteworthy: fourteen US patents have been awarded from 2000 to the present. In 2006, R&D Magazine recognized the neutron generator work with an R&D 100 Award, and in 2009, another R&D 100 was bestowed upon a diamondlike-carbon coating system for hard drive read/write heads (won jointly with our industrial partner Veeco). The latter was the tenth R&D 100 (out of LBNL's total of 52) awarded wholly or in part to IBT or its predecessors.

Like other ATAP programs, IBT is embedded in a resource-rich, multi-disciplinary environment that includes other LBNL divisions and the University of California, especially the adjacent Berkeley campus. Taken together, these provide opportunities for collaboration and promote rapid progress that our staff has put to good advantage. In addition, over a period of many years we have developed within IBT an extensive—and in many ways unique—array of test stands and experimental equipment to carry out our work.

The work carried out by IBT is highly collaborative in nature. We presently have over 30 active collaborations with industry, universities, other national laboratories and institutes. With only 4 permanent career scientists, we benefit enormously from the dozens of participating guests, students, engineers and technical support staff who are essential contributors to the productivity of the program. Students form a vital part of that effort; 12 PhDs have been awarded since 1997 based on work performed in whole or in part in IBT, and we expect 4 more to be awarded within the next year.