The Pelletron Accelerator, set up as a collaborative project between the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, has been serving as a major facility for heavy ion accelerator based research in India since its commissioning in December 1988. Several advanced experimental facilities have also been established at this centre to pursue research in nuclear, atomic, condensed matter physics and interdisciplinary areas. A number of application based research programmes have also been taken up using this accelerator. The research work in nuclear physics, which forms the main thrust of activities at this facility, covers areas of nuclear structure studies at high angular momentum and excitation energies and the heavy ion reaction dynamics. The accelerator has now completed 25 years of successful operation, catering to a large community of scientists in the country. While the majority of the researchers at this facility are from BARC and TIFR, the experimental community encompasses scientists and students from other research centres and universities within and outside the country. These past years have been scientifically stimulating and very productive. More than 100 Ph.D. theses and over 600 publications in refereed international journals including 18 publications in Physical Review Letters have resulted from the research activities in this laboratory.
The accelerator has performed exceedingly well delivering beams ranging from proton to Iodine and has completed 25 years of operation Various modifications to improve the performance of the Pelletron accelerator have been implemented.
A superconducting linear accelerator has been indigenously developed to boost the energy of heavy ion beams delivered by the Pelletron accelerator. The superconducting LINAC booster phase I consisting of three accelerating modules was commissioned in 2002. In July 2007, Silicon ions were accelerated using all seven modules and were transported to the experimental stations in the first user hall. The performance was excellent with an average energy gain per cavity of 0.4 MV/q corresponding to 80% of the design value. This national facility was dedicated to users on 28th November 2007 and has been routinely operational since then. Development of the superconducting LINAC is a major milestone in the accelerator technology in our country. Most of the critical components of the LINAC booster, the first superconducting heavy ion accelerator in India, have been designed, developed and fabricated indigenously.
Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s visit to LINAC (June 2010)