Berkeley Lab

Ion Beam Technology

Transformational impact on critical needs in science, security, and industry

The Ion Beam Technology Program integrates expertise and technologies from the ATAP Division’s deep roots in ion-accelerator design and in the quest for fusion energy. IBT now supports diverse scientific and industrial applications, including quantum computing, innovative neutron and gamma generators, and improvement of everything from computer discs to energy efficient windows through plasma applications.

Plasma and Ion Source Technology

extraction arrayAt the heart of a wide range of IBT applications is a family of ion sources that use radio-frequency power for induction heating of a plasma, which is confined by a multi-cusp magnetic field.

Our Plasma and Ion Source Technology Group has adapted this core concept for many purposes, including simple, compact efficient neutron and gamma-ray generators for the security missions of DOE and other agencies.

Plasma Applications

twist filterThe Plasma Applications Group develops plasma technologies to deposit thin films, nanoparticles, and multilayer devices. Applications are numerous and include transparent conductors, applying diamondlike carbon coatings, modifying surfaces, and energy-efficient, dynamic (switchable) “smart” windows. The technologies and techniques can be applied in many fields where special films or surfaces are needed.

Quantum Computing

Our ability to precisely control the size and energy of very small ion beams led to expertise in ion implantation and nanofabrication—exciting areas that are applicable to quantum computing. One IBT contribution, infrastructural to a collaborative effort with UC-Berkeley, is working on a silicon-based (“Kane”) approach to quantum computing hardware: the use of electron spins of donor atoms in silicon as qubits. Another effort is developing a non-silicon approach to quantum computing gates, based on nitrogen-vacancy (NV) defects in the crystal structure of diamond. This approach also uses qubits based on a single atom.

Accelerator “Front Ends”

IMP group photoOne of our key strengths and responsibilities is service to ion-accelerator-based projects in the Department of Energy and elsewhere. In these matters we work closely with ATAP’s Center for Beam Physics and LBNL’s Engineering Division.
Thanks in large part to our work on the multi-laboratory Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) team, we have helped LBNL come to be regarded as the laboratory of choice for the technically challenging front end of an ion accelerator—the series of initial components that give a beam the highest-quality start. We stand ready to contribute to other national research priorities that can take advantage of these capabilities.

To Learn More…

Plasma and Ion Source Technology Group
Plasma Applications Group
Nano Beams and Quantum Computing Group
Fusion Science and NDCX-II

Other Beam access and accelerator related cooperative R&D opportunities are available in ATAP and elsewhere in LBNL.