LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Michigan State University’s Facility for Rare Isotope Beams has been awarded $115 million from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science to fund its new High Rigidity Spectrometer project.

The HRS enables scientists to observe the properties of isotopes that are created by rare-isotope reactions, which are produced at about half the speed of light.

Only half the speed of light? Hey, that’s still pretty darn fast.

With the ability to measure properties such as the mass, charge and velocity of rare isotopes produced in those conditions, the HRS will substantially increase FRIB’s scientific reach and productivity.  

The award will fund the use of the instrument for as many as 500 scientists over the next seven years. This grant is in addition to $529 million in funding over five years for FRIB itself from the U.S. energy department.

Since the start of user operation in May 2022, FRIB has delivered more than 210 rare isotope beams to experiments and supported 665 participants, including 177 students, across 50 countries and 189 institutions, including U.S. national laboratories, colleges and universities.

“This new award enables us to design and establish a new instrument at FRIB, which substantially increases FRIB’s scientific impact, in support of a large, multi-institutional user community of more than 500 scientists planning to use HRS in their forefront research,” said FRIB Laboratory Director Thomas Glasmacher.