CNA, Spain

Astrid Berens

The Centro Nacional de Aceleradores (CNA) (National Accelerator Centre) is a joint center depending on the University of Seville, the Regional Government of Andalucía (Junta de Andalucía), and the High Council of Scientific Research (CSIC). It has the mission of carrying out research in particle accelerators and its multiple applications. CNA is recognized in Spain as a Singular Scientific and Technological Facility and is open for the national and international scientific community to carry out research using its equipment.

The center is located in Cartuja Technological Park in the city of Seville and contains the following main equipments/facilities:

    • Pelletron 3 MV Tandem accelerator made by National Electrostatics Corporation (NEC). It is primarily focused on material characterization and modification by means of IBA techniques and ion implantation, as well as to the study and development of nuclear instrumentation, especially radiation detectors. The Tandem accelerator has 8 different lines, namely external, microbeam, multipurpose, chanelling, ionoluminiscence, among others. A new line was recently developed for the first accelerator-based neutron facility in Spain, HiSPANoS. In HiSPANoS, low energy proton or deuterium ion beams are used to produce neutrons by nuclear reactions. It is possible to deliver epithermal neutrons by means of the 7 Li(p,n) reaction, fast neutrons with energy less than 9 MeV produced by D(d,n) fusion reaction, and thermal neutrons thermalizing any of the above. This line has been finally updated to have the first pulsed neutron beam in Spain
    • Cyclone 18/9, a cyclotron accelerator manufactured by IBA, Belgium, which accelerates protons and deuterons to 18 and 9 MeV, respectively. Seven out of the eight targets of the cyclotron are devoted to the production of positron emitters. Thus, CNA offers the possibility to produce the most frequent radioisotopes employed in the imaging modality Positron Emission Tomography (PET). In addition, there is an exit line (Experimental Beam Line) in the last target port, which transports the beam line to a second vault. This external line allows to perform research which requires the use of protons and deuterons, with energies above 6 MeV.
    • 1 MV AMS Tandetron accelerator from HVEE, devoted to the determination of minute amounts of long-lived radionuclides in environmental samples, with high demands in oceanographic research. CNA is an official collaborating center of IAEA in AMS applications in marine studies. Nuclides such as 10Be, 26Al, 41Ca, 129I , 236U, 237Np, 239Pu and 240Pu are analyzed. This facility is also used to perform research associated to the radionuclide characterization in residues generated in the decommissioning of nuclear power plants.
    • MICADAS, a 14C devoted compact accelerator, used mostly for 14C dating, but also with a notably increment in forensic applications.

In addition, the center is equipped with a 60Co irradiator allowing combined irradiation experiments with photons-particles, and a PET-CT scanner, the complement of the Cyclotron for cancer diagnosis.

The objectives of the center are quite ample and diverse attending to the number of singular facilities available. Beside doing advanced research in all the areas previously commented, the center has two main  objectives: to train scientific and technology students in different fields (ion beam analysis, AMS, PET production) and to be an open access center offering the scientific community, other research centers, as well as public and private companies, the possibility to perform accelerator-based research using our facilities under the guidance and collaboration of our staff.


CNA’s main areas of competence:

  • Application of IBA techniques
  • Study and development of nuclear instrumentation
  • Neutron based research
  • Particle/photon irradiation
  • Accelerator mass spectrometry
  • 14C dating and forensic studies
  • Production of PET nuclides