GSI, Germany

Astrid Berens

The GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt (Germany) operates a worldwide leading accelerator facility for research purposes. Every year approximately 1,000 researchers from universities and other research institutes around the world come to GSI for experiments.

GSI is a limited liability company (GmbH). Shareholders are the German Federal Government with 90 %, the State of Hesse with 8 %, the State of Rhineland-Palatinate and the Free State of Thuringia with 1 % each. They are represented in the GSI supervisory board by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the respective state ministries. GSI is a member of the Helmholtz Association, Germany’s largest research organization.

At the GSI-MAT facilities various aspects related to the interaction of highly energetic heavy ions and solid state matter are investigated:

  • Ion-beam induced modifications
  • Ion-track formation
  • Radiation hardness of technologically relevant materials
  • Astrochemistry, simulation of cosmic radiation effects
  • Stabilization of high-pressure phases by ion irradiation
  • Nanostructures fabricated by ion-track technology

GSI-MAT operates several beamlines at the linear ion accelerator UNILAC and at the synchrotron ion accelerator SIS 18 (Cave A), providing on-line analysis of materials by e.g. scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, x-ray diffraction, and various spectroscopy methods. A semi-automatized sample exchange system allows efficient sample exposure over a broad fluence regime from one single ion per sample up to strongly overlapping tracks. The heavy ion microprobe allows targeted irradiations with single ions with a precision of ~1 µm . More information can be found at


Regular channel pattern in polymer foil fabricated with the Heavy Ion Microprobe
Photo: K.-O. Voss, GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung
X0-Heavy Ion Microprobe. Photo: K.-O. Voss, GSI Helmholtzzentrum für SchwerionenforschungX0 - Sample cassette for irradiation with automatic sample exchange system. 
Photo: GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung
UNILAC Accelerator. Foto: A. Zschau, GSI Helmholtzzentrum für SchwerionenforschungM-branch. Photo: D. Severin, GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung


GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Planckstraße 1
64291 Darmstadt

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