Welcome to the Centre for Accelerator Science


ANSTO's Centre for Accelerator Science is expanding opportunities for the organisation and its partners. Accelerators have a vast array of applications and can be used for the A to Z (archaeology to zoology) of science.

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The 10MV ANTARES accelerator for IBA and AMS analyses


The potential to increase the use of accelerators in a range of scientific pursuits was identified by the Australian Federal Government in the 2009/10 Budget when it allocated $25 million to establish the new Centre for Accelerator Science at ANSTO.

The aim of centre is to provide world-leading national accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) and ion beam analysis (IBA) facilities. 
For these purposes, two new accelerators are being commissioned at ANSTO which will expand on ANSTO's  two currently operating accelerators ANTARES and STAR, as well as new clean laboratories for sample preparation and mass spectrometry.  The two new accelerators comprise:
  • A new, 1MV low energy multi-isotope accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) accelerator; and
  • A new 6MV medium-energy tandem accelerator, which will cater for a wide range of applications.
Both new accelerators were installed and commissioned in 2015. 



The 1MV VEGA Accelerator

The new 1MV accelerator system, named VEGA, is designed with the capability to perform high efficiency, high precision 14C and actinide mass spectrometry.

Large beam-optical acceptance ensures high quality and high throughput for radiocarbon measurements. High mass resolution analysers, at low and high energy, coupled to a novel fast isotope switching system, enable high quality analysis of actinide radioisotopes.

It has been custom built to our specifications taking into account recent overseas developments and allowing for future development possibilities including a second ion source.
1MV VEGA accelerator
The 1MV VEGA low energy multi-isotope accelerator



The 6MV SIRIUS Tandem Accelerator

 The new 6MV tandem accelerator, named SIRIUS, is instrumented with a wide range of AMS, IBA and ion irradiation facilities.  The three ion sources include hydrogen and helium sources, and a MC-SNICS sputter source for solid materials. 

SIRIUS has AMS facilities including: 

(i) a gas-absorber detector for 10Be analysis,
(ii) a time-of-flight detector,
(iii) a gas-filled magnet and
(iv) a general use ionization detector suited to 36Cl and other analyses.

SIRIUS has IBA facilities including:

(i)  a confocal heavy ion microprobe,
(ii) a surface engineering beamline,
(iii) a nuclear reaction analysis (NRA) and
(iv) a heavy ion implantation beamline.

A photo of the 6MV tandem is shown below during testing in Wisconsin, USA. Its installation location at ANSTO will also include the possibility of porting the beam to the existing ANTARES beam hall for simultaneous irradiation experiments. 

6MV Sirius Accelerator

The 6MV SIRIUS accelerator for IBA and AMS being tested in Wisconsin, USA 



2MV STAR Tandetron Accelerator

The 2MV tandetron accelerator, named STAR, can perform both IBA and AMS analyses. it has three ion sources which include two duoplasmatron sources, for hydrogen and helium, and a solid target sputter source used primarily for ionising carbon samples for AMS. The STAR accelerator currently has 3 beamlines, a multi-elemental surface analysis beamline (IBA), a high resolution depth profiling beamline (IBA), and a 14C beamline (AMS). More information on the STAR accelerator can be found here

Inside the accelerator
The 2MV STAR tandetron accelerator for IBA and AMS analyses



10MV ANTARES Tandem Accelerator

The 10MV tandem accelerator, named ANTARES, is the largest accelerator in CAS and was first commissioned at ANSTO in 1991. It has source, beamline and end station facilities applicable to both IBA and AMS research. ANTARES is capable of producing and accelerating virtually any naturally occurring isotope to energies up to 100MeV and intensities up to microamperes, depending on the ion species.

 ANTARES facilities include:

  •  Heavy ion microprobe beamline
  • Elastic recoil detection beamline
  • Actinide beamline
  • 14C AMS beamline
  • 10Be / 26Al / 36Cl AMS beamline
  • Heavy ion gas filled magnet beamline


Prof David Cohen    
Accelerator Science Project Leader    



National Carbon Cancer Therapy and Research Centre

ANSTO and representatives from leading Australian hospitals, research centres, universities and industry are proposing the establishment of a new National Carbon Cancer Therapy and Research Centre to deliver advanced cancer treatment based on a leading-edge technology, carbon ion therapy, to improve patient outcomes and generate internationally-recognised scientific, engineering and industrial research.

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National Carbon Cancer Therapy and Research Centre image
ANSTO has expertise in the accelerator sciences and operates a range of scientific infrastructure

There is a significant group of Australians with cancer today, and in the future, who could benefit from treatment with carbon ions. This form of particle therapy offers an alternative to those who cannot be treated with conventional radiation therapies using x-rays. It can potentially be used to treat cancers located near vital body organs and radiation-resistant tumours.

Because an accelerated carbon ion delivers many times more energy than an x-ray or a proton, it potentially has unique clinical advantages for the treatment of cancers resistant to conventional treatment.

Representatives from Australian hospitals, research centres and universities are supporting the establishment of the centre. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists Faculty of Radiation Oncology supports patient access to particle therapy and an investigation into the establishment of a centre. The project also has a commitment from a diverse range of potential service partners and stakeholders.