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Sep. 29, 2020

U.S. Department of Energy designates FRIB as DOE Office of Science user facility

The U.S. Department of Energy has designated the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams at Michigan State University as an Office of Science user facility. U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette announced the designation at a special ceremony held outdoors at MSU, under a tent adjacent to FRIB.

In addition to Brouillette, those who attended the designation event in person or remotely included:

  • DOE Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar
  • U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar of Michigan
  • U.S. Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan
  • U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan
  • MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.
  • U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan
  • U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg of Michigan
  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Ahead of the ceremony, Brouillette and Dabbar met with several manufacturers involved in building FRIB. Since its start in 2009, FRIB has contracted with 3,737 suppliers from 49 states plus the District of Columbia.

The university is establishing FRIB under a cooperative agreement with the DOE Office of Science, supporting the mission of the Office of Nuclear Physics. FRIB will enable scientists to make discoveries about the properties of rare isotopes (short-lived nuclei not normally found on Earth), nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions and applications for society, including in medicine, homeland security and industry. More than 1,400 scientific users are poised to conduct research at FRIB when user operation commences in early 2022.

“The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams here at Michigan State is a phenomenal, innovative project supported by the Department of Energy, the state of Michigan and the university,” said Brouillette. “Poised to be the world’s most powerful rare isotope beam, FRIB will provide 1,500 jobs to the Lansing area, attract international scientific collaboration, advance diagnostic treatments for cancer and enhance America’s national security.”

With the designation, FRIB joins the family of 27 DOE Office of Science user facilities across the country.

“FRIB is a prime example of MSU’s pursuit of cutting-edge knowledge to advance the common good with uncommon will,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “FRIB is a world-leading facility dedicated from the start to scientific excellence. It will help keep MSU at the forefront of nuclear physics research and education, with the potential for life-enhancing discoveries ranging from technological innovations to broader understanding of the nature of the universe.”

FRIB construction status
FRIB is more than 94% complete and tracking to early completion in 2022.

At the heart of FRIB is a high-power superconducting linear accelerator that already has been demonstrated to accelerate ion beams to more than half the speed of light to strike a target, creating rare isotopes. With these beam tests demonstrated, FRIB became the highest-energy superconducting heavy-ion linear accelerator.

FRIB’s impact on science and the nation
FRIB is poised to be the world’s most powerful rare isotope beam facility, with unprecedented opportunities to study the vast unexplored potential of more than 1,000 new rare isotopes never before produced on Earth — more than double what is currently possible. FRIB promises not only scientific breakthroughs, but also game-changing economic and innovation opportunities for the state of Michigan and the entire nation.

“I want to extend my gratitude on behalf of the whole FRIB team and the FRIB user community to Secretary Brouillette, President Stanley, Under Secretary Dabbar, Office of Science Director Chris Fall, Gov. Whitmer and our Michigan members of Congress for commemorating today’s milestone, for your ongoing support and for entrusting us with public funds,” said FRIB Laboratory Director Thomas Glasmacher. “A facility like FRIB has been pursued by the U.S. nuclear science community since the 1990s. The FRIB project started in 2009, and now, thanks to the vision, dedication and hard work of so many, we are more than 94% finished and preparing for science in 2022.”

A replay of the designation event held at MSU on Sept. 29 can be viewed on the FRIB YouTube page.

MSU is establishing FRIB as a user facility for the Office of Nuclear Physics in the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. Under construction on campus and operated by MSU, FRIB will enable scientists to make discoveries about the properties of rare isotopes in order to better understand the physics of nuclei, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions and applications for society, including in medicine, homeland security and industry.

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of today’s most pressing challenges. For more information, visit energy.gov/science.


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