Nuclear Science research at ANU is based at the Department of Nuclear Physics, Research School of Physics and Engineering, which hosts 45 staff and students (both MPhil and PhD). It operates the premier laboratory in Australia for accelerator-based research in nuclear physics, providing and developing experimental facilities for local staff and national and international outside users. The Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility is used for postgraduate and postdoctoral training over a wide range of research, from basic to applied. The studies and the international competitiveness of the research carried out in the department draws on a suite of techniques and instruments, and on the flexibility of the Heavy Ion Accelerator itself. Research areas include fundamental nuclear and quantum physics as well as applications of accelerator-based techniques. These applications extend from understanding the properties of advanced fuels for Generation IV nuclear reactors, through materials characterisation to accelerator mass spectrometry which enables climate change monitoring, determination of groundwater flows and environmental tracing of nuclear discharges via ultra-sensitive measurement of rare isotope abundances.
The Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility has many active national and international collaborations. It is a member of ACAS, the Australian Collaboration for Accelerator Science, a collaboration between ANU, the Australian Synchrotron, ANSTO and University of Melbourne. The Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility has a replacement cost of over $50 million and an annual budget of over $3 million. The Facility is currently undertaking a $7.6 million upgrade and enhancement through the Federal Government’s Super Science scheme. It is operated as a National Facility, with merit-based access via collaborative agreements.