Alikhanyan National Laboratory in Yerevan (Yerevan Physics institute) on its premises will soon take delivery of a new 18 MeV cyclotron for a modern diagnostic center funded by the Armenian government.  The cyclotron is purchased from a Belgian Company (IBA) and the  plan is to start installation of the  new 18 MeV cyclotron  in January of 2015. The cyclotron will be placed in a newly constructed, and specially designed building on the grounds of the laboratory. The new cyclotron, the Cyclone 18, is one of the most modern cyclotrons produced today in the world. The cyclotron will produce proton beams of 18 MeV.

 

Figure 1 The IBA 18 cyclotron

The new cyclotron in addition to providing short-lived radioactive isotopes for Positron-Electron tomography will be used to expand the capability of YerPhI in nuclear physics research and the applications of nuclear science to society. The science questions explored at YerPhi will range from studying the stellar nuclear reactions essential, to the formation of the solar system to understanding the conditions responsible for life on earth, to applying the techniques and tools of nuclear science towards understanding early human development, environmental science, dating of art and archeological artifacts, as well as expanding capabilities of Armenia in medical treatment and diagnostic techniques.

This type of cyclotron is being implemented worldwide to produce radio-isotopes for hospitals and research centers all over the world. The production of radio-isotopes in Yerevan will provide services that presently do not exist to patients in Armenia and potentially provide sales to neighboring countries.  The cyclotron will place Armenia amongst a select list of the world’s countries with their own production of radio-isotopes that can be used in medical diagnostics and therapy.

The cyclotrons are also very versatile and can be used to carry out basic nuclear research. Some recent proposals  by scientists at YerPhi and approved by the Ministry of Science and Education include using the proton beams to study the

“Hoyle” state, which is the resonance state that captures an alpha particle to make Oxygen and hence the origin of life in our cosmos.  The state was discovered more than 50 years ago, but  remains a challenge in physics  worldwide. Scientists at YerPhi propose to measure the decay of the Hoyle state.

Another example of the kind of research that can be done at YerPHi with the new C-18 Cyclotron is the conversion of the proton beam into a neutron beam for use for a broad class of studies and experiments. Neutrons are fundamental particles that make up the nucleus along with protons. The properties of neutrons such as their charge neutrality makes them ideal probes to peer inside all types of matter, including properties of nuclei and various types of dense matter. Wavelengths of neutron are about the same as the distances between atoms making them an ideal tool to the study of engineering of materials, as well as biological, chemical,  and physical systems. Neutrons and the likelihood of various materials to absorb neutrons (cross-sections) are important to answering a broad range of open questions from astrophysics, nuclear physics, and material science. The production of a neutron beam at YerPhi will be an important experimental tool for the country of Armenia. Other societal applications of Nuclear Physics include energy, climate physics, physics of art and archeology.

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Figur 2. The president of Armenia S. Sargsyan, former minister of Health of RA D. Dumanyan and other high ranked officials and priests atthe groundbreaking ceremony October, 2012

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Figure 3. YerPhI director A. Chilingarian and the President of Armenia S. Sargsyan at the groundbreaking ceremony of the diagnostic center

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Figure. 4 The entrance of the building as it stands today.