Ion Beam Physics and Technology

Ion beams of MeV energies are standard research tool in many areas of science, from basic nuclear physics to various topics in materials and medical studies. Besides the accelerators, experiments in these different physics fields share many other aspects, like many methods and techniques in both experimental work and data analysis. Here we start from these common features of experimental work and propose research plan for extensive studies in ion beam analysis, material physics, radiation detectors and low energy nuclear physics. Common instrumentation basis of the proposal is the accelerator complex of the Ruđer Bošković Institute which is the largest research facility in Croatia and the only one providing trans-national access to EU researchers within the FP7 program. State of the art techniques that already exist at the facility are excellent basis for the proposed research topics. . Another important ingredient for success of the proposed center is skilled, experienced and internationally recognized staff. Involved researchers have not only scientific expertise in these topics but also large experience in execution of internationally funded projects.
Interaction of ion beams with target matter is in the focus of all experimental approaches. Knowledge on the basic processes of ion interaction with matter will be used to characterize unknown target materials and in particular their composition. Novelty of this analytical approach is investigation of processes that are sensitive to chemical composition of the sample, such as desorption of surface molecules that could be analyzed by time-of-flight spectrometry. Considering controlled modification of the material, investigations of effects that ions have on the nanometer scale could be used to develop a novel nano-structuring tool. Recent discovery of quantum dots ordering using ion beams encourages this field of research. If an ion microbeam exposes radiation detectors, investigation of charge collection processes could be used to develop novel detector types. Here, investigations of diamond as a future sensor material offer numerous possibilities. Such developments will have, among others, strong impact to investigations of basic phenomena of nuclear physics, for which some particular accelerated ions collide with known target isotope with aim to investigate nuclear reactions. Using the RBI and other larger accelerator facilities, experiments will be proposed which target the key questions in understanding of nuclear collective phenomena (pairing, clustering), and nuclear astrophysics.
Finally, development of state of the art instrumentation, irradiation and analysis techniques, materials structuring tools and related technology, will ensure wider application of know-how in other research fields, in applications of public importance and in transfer of knowledge to industry, generating large impact on general society.