The High Intensity Heavy-ion Accelerator Facility (HIAF) will be a scientific user facility open to researchers from all over the world. HIAF will be one of the world’s leading heavy-ion accelerators in the near future that enables scientists with concerted efforts to explore the hitherto unknown territories in nuclear chart, to approach the experimental limits, to open new domains of physics research in experiments, and to develop new ideas and heavy-ion applications beneficial to the society.
Located in Huizhou City of Guangdong Province in south China, HIAF is funded jointly by the National Development and Reform Commission of China, Guangdong Province, and Huizhou City. The total investment is about 2.5 billion in Chinese yuan, including about 1.5 billion yuan from the central government for facility construction and 1.0 billion yuan from the local governments for infrastructure. The construction is scheduled for seven years, and the commissioning is planned in 2025.
HIAF is under construction. (Image by HUANG Xuyi)
HIAF is a completely new facility, and it will be built on a primordial place without any existing infrastructure. The location of HIAF is about 2000 kilometers away from the Institute of Modern Physics (IMP), which is responsible for the construction. In order to facilitate the project management, IMP set up a branch in Huizhou City. The engineering team will gradually move there from the institute, and a new research center of heavy-ion science and technology will come to the stage as scheduled.
The primary aim of Nuclear Physics is striving to understand the origin, structure, evolution, and phases of strongly interacting matter, which constitutes nearly 100% of the visible matter in the Universe. Despite the great breakthroughs and achievements in the past decades, there still exists overarching questions that animate nuclear physics today.
HIAF is characterized with unprecedented intense beams aiming to produce a large variety of exotic nuclear matters, which are not normally found on Earth, mainly including short-lived extremely neutron-rich and proton-rich nuclides, neutron-rich hypernuclei and hypernuclei with double strangeness, and nuclear matters with finite baryon densities in the QCD phase diagram.
Therefore, HIAF will bring scientists to the forefront of promoting the most vigorous and fascinating fields in nuclear physics, such as to explore the limit to the existence of nuclei in terms of proton and mass numbers, to find exotic nuclear structure and study the physics behind, to understand the origin of the heavy elements in the cosmos, to depict the QCD phase diagram of nuclear matter, etc.
In essence, HIAF is a next-generation storage-ring based heavy-ion research facility. It builds upon the expertise and achievements of the Heavy-ion Research Facility in Lanzhou (HIRFL), a national user facility operated by IMP. Over a half century, HIRFL has been playing a leading role in developing heavy-ion accelerator technology and promoting heavy-ion physics and applications in China. Since 2008, using the Cooler Storage Ring of HIRFL, IMP has been conducting precision measurements on rare isotopes, elevating our research to new levels. In order to look beyond HIRFL’s discovery potentials, HIAF is envisioned to employ advanced accelerator technology needed for producing unprecedented heavy-ion beam intensity. The foundation of the design of HIAF is to couple a superconducting linear accelerator with a high-energy synchrotron to produce various stable and radioactive intense beams with energies from MeV/u to GeV/u.
HIAF is a high-intensity heavy-ion accelerator complex, dedicated to interdisciplinary research of nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, atomic physics, and heavy-ion applications for society. Its design, construction, and operation should rest on a strong partnership among the domestic and oversea institutions and companies. Various collaborations comprising scientists and engineers from universities, institutes, industries and companies have been and will be established in order to do R&D on key accelerator techniques, design and fabricate prototypes of core devices, and develop new detectors and experimental methods. HIAF also enjoys a strong partnership with future users from institutions, industries and non-profit organizaitons from around the world.
More information can be found at: http://hiaf.impcas.ac.cn/hiaf_en/public/