AGOR, the Netherlands

Astrid Berens

The AGOR cyclotron facility within the KVI-Centre for Advanced Radiation Technologies (KVI-CART) is part of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. AGOR (Accélérateur Groningen-ORsay), a superconducting K=600 MeV cyclotron used for the acceleration of both light and heavy ions, is the result of the cooperation between KVI-CART and the IPN, Orsay, France. The AGOR cyclotron facility is a user facility for the international scientific community. Beam time is obtained by submitting a proposal that is evaluated by the AGOR Programme Advisory Committee (PAC). Proposal submission deadlines are 1 March and 1 October.

In the framework of Transnational Access within the EU/Horizon2020 Integrating Activities action, KVI-CART provides access support (travel and subsistence) under the Integrating Activities ENSAR2 and INSPIRE. AGOR has also been recognized by ESA as a ground based facility for its research program in the biological effects of space radiation. Commercial use, where no scientific proposal is necessary, can be provided to users from industry, businesses and the public sector.

Our facility provides an experimental setup in air for many different types of experiments, such as radiobiology experiments with high-energy protons, ?-particles and 12C or radiation hardness tests with simulated solar spectrum, as well as detector tests with very low intensity beams. Recently, the set-up has been expanded to facilitate heavy-ion experiments. The modular nature of the set-up allows for many different types of experiments can be accommodated. An experimental setup in a large vacuum chamber to accommodate heavy ions is also available.


AGOR’s main areas of competence:

  • For irradiations involving radiation hardness tests or detector characterization, protons at 190 MeV, lighter ions (helium- neon) at 90 MeV/u, carbon to xenon at 30 MeV/u and very high LET heavy ion beam irradiations (Pb or Bi) at 11 MeV/u (only available starting 2020) are provided. The latter can only be used in vacuum.
  • Preclinical research in radiation biology with proton, helium, carbon and oxygen beams at various energies are provided by the facility. A high-precision and efficient ion irradiation facility for radiobiology has been developed to study DNA damage and gene expression after ion irradiation. This system uses a double scatter foil to generate a 70 mm field size for ?190 MeV protons (uniformity of ±1.5%) and a dose rate of up to 50 Gy/min. Carbon ions are also provided, using a single scatter foil at 90 MeV/u (uniformity of ±1.5%) and dose rates of 2-5 Gy/min for cell cultures and up to 50 Gy/min for DNA damage studies. For the carbon ion irradiations a spread-out Bragg peak (SOBP) is formed with a modulator wheel (SOBP’s of 1.3 mm and 3 mm have been provided). For proton irradiations the SOBP is produced using a degrader. Neutron irradiations at dose rates of up to 100 mGy/min are performed under near clinical conditions by stopping a proton of the required energy in water.
  • A scanned pencil beam is available. Depending on the ion and energy chosen and required uniformity the field size can be up to 10×10 cm2 (protons). Uniform scanning with a frequency up to 200 Hz is offered, while spot scanning is under development. Future development plans for radiation biology include image-guided irradiations, flash (ultra-high dose rate) and mini-beam irradiations.

AGOR Ion Irradiation:

Ion speciesproton, H2+, light and heavy ions
Ion energyprotons at 120-190 MeV (in air or vacuum), H2+ and lighter ions (deutron to oxygen) at 90 MeV/u (in air or vacuum), carbon to xenon at 30 MeV/u (in air or vacuum), and very high LET heavy ion beam irradiations (Pb or Bi) at 11 MeV/u (only in vacuum and available in 2020)
FluxProtons: min 104- max 108 protons per cm2 per second, Heavy ions: min 102- max 106 ions per cm2 per second. Lower fluxes are possible up on request, higher fluxes are possible in smaller fields.
Incidence angleXYZ-table with a rotation stage is included to allow the device to be irradiated at any angle
Fluence monitoring & measurement Flux is monitored using four fast scintillation ‘edge detectors’ (YAP:Ce crystals readout with a Hamamatsu R12421 photo multiplier) by SCIONIX. The ratio between upper/lower left and right ‘edge detectors’ monitors whether or not the field uniformity is changing. Fluence is measured in the center of the field using a scintillation detector with a known surface area
Field Forming SystemScatter foils and an x-y scan magnet system provide a homogeneous heavy ion beam over an area of 30 x 30 mm2 (protons can be scanned over an area of 10 x 10 cm2 ) with a homogeneity better than 10%
Degrader SystemA remotely controlled degrader system is used such that degrader material of different thicknesses can be inserted in the beam to vary beam energy on the device under test.
OtherA Si detector is used to verify beam purity of heavy ion beams.
A scintillation foil (LanexTM) is used to check field homogeneity

AGOR Radiation Biology Irradiation:

Exposure TypeUniform scanned beam and scattered beam, spot scanning in development
SourceIsosynchronous Cyclotron
Dose RateAdjustable, protons with typical dose rates of up to 50 Gy/min, carbon ions at ≤90 MeV/u with typical dose rates of 4 Gy/min up to 50 Gy/min, flash irradiation under development (dosimetry/control).
Fluxlarge fields max 108 protons per cm2 per second, smaller fields or uniform scanning up to 1010 , 30x30 mm2 field 106 heavier ions per cm2 per second
Irradiation TypeProton beam of up to 190 MeV, He to O up to 90 MeV/u, He to O at 30 MeV/u , He to Oxygen at 18 MeV/u
AccessEU support available for travel and subsistance cost (PAC approved), Technical support available
Supporting labLimited microbiology facilities on site, support from UMCG radiobiology group can be arranged. Expansion of microbiology facilities is planned.




KVI-CART, University of Groningen
Zernikelaan 25
NL-9747 AA Groningen
The Netherlands

Tel.: +31 50 363 3615/3600