The long-term goal of JSI is to conduct cutting-edge research in the areas of energy, health, and matter. By actively applying our research findings, we are making a valuable contribution to the future of our economy and society. The department of Low and Medium Energy Physics (F2) is engaged in research in the field of atomic and nuclear physics. Knowledge acquired in basic research is exploited for numerous applications, including radiological monitoring of the environment, in material research, fusion, biology, energy storage, medicine, pharmacology, environment and archaeometry. Research is executed using our own experimental equipment, consisting of ion accelerator and beamlines, dedicated detectors of ionizing radiation, experimental setups for atomic physics and calibrated radiation fields.
Intense applied research is undergoing at the high-energy focused ion beam, where micro-PIXE and MeV-SIMS techniques are used for studies in biology, medicine and related research fields. Some recent examples:
TissueMaps is a Marie Curie Project where people from various backgrounds work together to develop more complete diagnostic techniques to improve life of patients using or in need of a prosthesis. Due to corrosion and/or friction, prostheses may generate debris, which can cause toxicity, inflammation and prosthesis unsealing by osseous dissolution. A technique called PIXE (Particle Induced X-ray Emission) was used to analyze the distribution and quantification of particles into the pseudo capsular tissue samples (around the prosthesis), obtained during the revision surgery after a prosthesis break and/or rejection.
- Three-dimensional distribution of mineral elements in plant leaves is a national project that studies elemental composition of the edible parts of plants, which is crucial in our diet. Micro-PIXE technique is used, the object of the research is spinach: the edible leaves have a unique elemental composition as they contain large concentrations of Mg and Ca. Two genotypes that differ in Ca, Mg, and oxalate concentrations are being investigated. The goal is to select genotypes with a low oxalate concentration without negatively affecting Ca and Mg concentrations in spinach leaves.
The spirit of innovation within the department has also been demonstrated by internal developments of particular instrumentation. There are many parts of instrumentation and hardware that are custom made for the use on our ion beam accelerator only, but there are some developments that have the potential to be in wider use, two recent examples:
Multi-Channel Analyzer MCA 16 is in-house build analyzer for gamma and x-ray spectrometry with 40M samples/s @ 14bit sampling rate and 16k spectral channels. The algorithm inside is a classical trapezoidal filter. The device supports high voltage supply of up to 6000 V (one polarity per device) with a real-time current control and has DB-9 output for detector preamp power supply. It includes also some others inputs that can be programmable for different situations (VETO, etc.). The device is fully compatible with GAMWIN software and there is Python API available to control the MCA. It is daily used in scientific research in atomic and nuclear physics at the accelerator in Microanalytical Centre and in Laboratory for radioactivity measurements at JSI.
A charge integrator for ion beam experiments, with an affordable maintenance plan. Charge integrators are an all-too common casualty of unplanned electric discharge in ion beam experiments. We have developed a module (that can be built in NIM format) which is specifically designed for easy and affordable repair whenever the input circuitry gets blown. Some precision is sacrificed compared to the venerable Ortec 439 but remains well within the typical uncertainty due to secondary electron current effects.
The goal of innovation manager is to bring the activities and products above closer to the market. An important step for the department is a new website of the department f2.ijs.si/en, which was completely redesigned both from contents as well as from graphical point of view. The website is regularly updated with news and new projects. A special add-on to the page is a daily updated schedule of our ion beam accelerator. The concept of the new website builds on modern graphics and design, focusing on three main target groups. The first one, the scientific community, is the most important audience as the department is heavily involved in scientific national and EU projects. The image of the department is also very important to attract interested students, a special part of the page is dedicated to them. The third group of interest is industry, the department competences are listed within the description of laboratories and infrastructure. A dedicated section for the industry is planned to be added – the goal is to increase this collaboration as we firmly believe there is a mutual interest.