Edwards Accelerator Lab

Nuclear physics at Ohio University was started in 1962 with the hiring of Professor Roger Finlay. The initial research program utilized a small 150-kV Cockroft-Walton accelerator for generating neutrons that was located in an old automobile garage. The Department of Physics, however, had more ambitious plans. Construction of the Ohio University Accelerator Laboratory (OUAL) began in 1965 and was completed in 1967, with funds supplied by the State of Ohio. In addition, Clippinger Laboratories, which houses the rest of the Department of Physics and several other science departments, was completed nearby on campus in 1967. Additional faculty hires in the area of nuclear physics also took place during this time period.

The purchase of the 4.5-MV tandem accelerator was funded by a one million dollar grant awarded by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission to Ohio University in 1967. The principal investigator was Professor Ray Lane, who had been recently hired. The accelerator was manufactured by the High Voltage Engineering Corporation located in Burlington, Massachusetts. The machine was designed to deliver high currents and consists of a unique "T" configuration, with the charging system running vertically and the beam horizontally. The accelerator itself took 18 months to manufacture and over 10 months to install, with the first experiments starting in 1971. Interestingly, the only other accelerator of this design was also installed in "Athens" -- at the National Centre for Scientific Research "Demokritos" in Athens, Greece -- and it too is still in operation!

The initial research program was focused on nuclear structure, with a particular emphasis on experimental techniques involving neutrons. Funding was largely provided by the Atomic Energy Commission (now known as the Department of Energy) and the National Science Foundation. Scientists in the laboratory have always opportunistically sought out new research areas, particularly when the unique capabilities of the accelerator could be leveraged.

The laboratory was eventually named the John E. Edwards Accelerator Laboratory, in honor of John E. Edwards, who was a stalwart professor in the Department of Physics from 1932 until 1972, served as Department Chair, and was a recipient of Ohio University′s Distinguished Professor Award. The lab is still also referred to by many via the original acronym OUAL.

Starting in 1978, the laboratory began to direct some efforts towards the investigation of new methods for cancer treatment, in collaboration with the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine. The idea behind this research was that radiotherapy with neutron beams may be superior to conventional x-ray and Cobalt therapy in the treatment of certain types of cancer. More recent projects in medical physics have involved collaborations with researchers from Ohio State University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology to provide fundamental data for boron neutron capture therapy.

In 1980, the first architectural change in the building was made since its construction in 1967. A 30-meter-long time-of-flight tunnel was constructed underground in the vacant land just east of the building, utilizing funds from the Ohio University 1804 fund, the Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation. A rotating beam-swinger magnet supplied by Michigan State University was also installed. The combination of beam swinger and tunnel allows neutrons to be studied as a function of angle with very well-shielded detectors. The long flight path provides for excellent neutron energy resolution.

In 1987, an interdisciplinary program in Condensed Matter and Surface Science was started at Ohio University. This program led to a faculty hire with research specialization in accelerator-based materials studies and the establishment of additional research capabilities in the accelerator laboratory. The W.M. Keck Thin Film Analysis Facility integrates several techniques within a suite of coupled UHV chambers to provide analysis and preparation facilities for research on surfaces and thin films. Accelerator-based probes include Rutherford Backscattering Spectroscopy, Nuclear Reaction Analysis, Elastic Recoil Spectroscopy, Proton-Induced X-Ray Emission, and Ion Channeling.

The Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics (INPP) was established at Ohio University in 1991 to promote experimental and theoretical research in nuclear physics at the University. In 1994, the Edwards Accelerator building was expanded with the addition of a conference room, an undergraduate laboratory, an electronics shop, and office space. This addition was financed by roughly equal contributions from Ohio University and funds generated by overhead return through the INPP. The Department was renamed the Department of Physics and Astronomy at about this time, to reflect our growing teaching and research interests in astronomy and astrophysics.

One of the strengths of the laboratory has always been the design and construction of specialized experimental equipment, including hardware, electrics, and computers. These developments are possible because of our on-campus location, excellent technical staff, and other departmental resources such as our machine shop. The laboratory provides an excellent environment for both undergraduate and graduate students to learn all facets of experimental physics, including design, fabrication, data taking, and analysis. The laboratory infrastructure has also supported the development of equipment for several experiments that have been performed at other laboratories.

Over time, the laboratory has increasingly hosted users from outside universities and laboratories. These users are often drawn here because of our capabilities and expertise in the generation and production of neutrons. One particular example is the development of neutron radiography, which has been led by scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

The Edwards Accelerator Laboratory has sustained a very high level of productivity over the years, with many Ohio University faculty performing a significant fraction of their research here. As of July 2012, Ohio University has produced 76 Ph.D.s in experimental nuclear science, of which 58 involved experimental work performed at at Ohio University. A list of Ph.D. students, their advisors, and thesis topics is given at the end of this page. Four Ohio University faculty who have worked in the laboratory, Roger Finlay, Steve Grimes, Raymond Lane, and Jacobo Rapaport, have received Ohio University′s Distinguished Professor Award. This award is the highest permanent recognition attainable by faculty at Ohio University.

The research focus of the laboratory has continued to evolve over time. Nuclear structure, and in particular statistical properties of nuclei, remains an important research focus. A relative new research area for the lab is nuclear astrophysics, which is concerned with providing an understanding of how nuclear physics impacts astrophysics (e.g., the origin of the elements and energy generation in stars). Applications of nuclear physics are becoming increasingly important. Example applications include high-precision fission measurements (needed to design the next generation of nuclear reactors) and the remote sensing of fissile materials using neutrons and gamma rays (motivated by the desire to prevent the unauthorized transport and or/use of uranium and plutonium).

In 2004 the University recognized the interface between nuclear physics and astrophysics as one of its "Research Priorities", awarding $1.3 million to the "Structure of the Universe" initiative. This initiative has led to increased ties between the nuclear physics and astrophysics groups and enhanced their research programs, including a faculty hire in low-energy experimental nuclear physics and $100,000 for refurbishment of the Edwards Accelerator Laboratory.

With the assistance of a $321,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, the accelerator was upgraded to a Pelletron charging system provided by the National Electrostatics Corporation. This upgrade replaced the aging charging belt system and was completed in January 2012. The new system has demonstrated considerably improved terminal stability, has allowed operation at higher terminal voltages, and is expected to reduce required maintenance time and expense.

Here are some photographs from over the years:

Rad Lab
The original Radiation Lab was equipped with a 150-kV Cockroft-Walton accelerator manufactured by the Texas Nuclear Corporation. This laboratory was housed in the old Dailey garage on Richland Avenue near where the new 682 bypass is now located. This photo is taken from the proposal submitted to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission to fund the tandem accelerator.

Clipp July 1965
A flyer for the ground-breaking ceremony for Clippinger and the Ohio University Accelerator Laboratory that was held on July 19, 1965. This photo is from the Ohio University archives.

Edwards February 1966
February 1966: the laboratory was just a hole in the ground at this point. Clippinger is under construction in the background. This photo is from the Ohio University archives.

OUAL June 1966
Construction of the Ohio University Accelerator Laboratory on June 1, 1966. Note the extra-thick concrete walls used to provide radiation shielding for the target rooms and accelerator vault. This photo is taken from the proposal submitted to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission to fund the tandem accelerator.

OUAL October 1966
Construction of the Ohio University Accelerator Laboratory on October 11, 1966.

OUAL May 1967
The Ohio University Accelerator Laboratory on May 1, 1967. The construction is nearly complete. This photo is taken from a proposal submitted to the National Science Foundation seeking to enhance the Department of Physics.

The accelerator tank, arriving on campus.

Maneuvering the tank into position.

Roger Finlay, observing the process. This must have been a very exciting time for him.

Lowering the bottom of the tank -- the base of the "T" -- into position.

It was necessary to break away some of the brand new concrete in order to fit the tank into the building.

The ion source area in the low-energy part of the vault, in the early days. This photo is taken from a proposal submitted to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in 1973 to fund research in the laboratory.

The high-energy part of the vault in the early days. This photo is taken from a proposal submitted to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in 1973 to fund research in the laboratory.

Small Target Room
The small target room in the early days. This photo is taken from a proposal submitted to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in 1973 to fund research in the laboratory.

Large Target Room
The large target room in the early days. This photo is taken from a proposal submitted to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in 1973 to fund research in the laboratory.

Control Room
The control room in the early days.

Group Photo
Roger Finlay, Jacobo Rapaport, and Steve Grimes, sitting on top of the newly-installed magnetic quadrupole triplet spectrometer in the large target room in the spring of 1979. Senior Honors Tutorial College student Jerry Weber is standing the foreground, asking the faculty for recommendation letters to graduate school.

Tunnel Completion
A flier commemorating the completion of the neutron time-of-flight tunnel.

Looking down the new neutron time-of-flight tunnel.

The newly-installed beam swinger magnet.

Swinger Plaque
The beam swinger magnet was designed by Aaron Galonsky at Michigan State University for use at their accelerator. After several years of operation, it could no longer be used at their facility due to an increase in their beam energy. It thus became available for our use at the Ohio University Accelerator Lab. This photo of the plaque on the magnet was taken in 2005, by which time the swinger had inadvertantly "swung" into something and chipped the plaque.

Two computer systems built in the laboratory by Don Carter and his undergraduate assistants Dennis Hunt and Pat Welch. The smaller one, sitting on top, is known as OU-8000, and was used for data acquisition beginning in the mid 1970s. It is described this Nuclear Instruments and Methods article. The larger computer on the bottom is known as OU-32 and came on line a few years later. It was used for data analysis and is described here. The front panels for both computers were made in the department machine shop by Roger Smith (before the advent of CNC mills!). Both computers were workhorses and served in the laboratory through the mid 1990s.

Finlay and Rapaport
Roger Finlay and Jacobo Rapaport with the swinger in the early 1980s. This photo is from the Ohio University archives.

Ground Breaking
Ground breaking for the expansion of the John E. Edwards Accelerator Laboratory in 1993. People visible from left to right include Louis Wright, Lloyd Chestnut, David Ingram, Jacobo Rapaport, David Onley, Roger Finlay (with shovel), Jim Dilley, Charlotte Elster, and Chuck Brient.

Expansion underway, 1993. Construction was completed in early 1994.

Accelerator Columns
The view inside the accelerator tank, looking up along the vertical coumn. The "T" structure of the columns is clearly evident. This photo appeared in Spring 2004 issue of Ohio Today.

Brune and Matei
Carl Brune and Catalin Matei at the high-energy end of the machine. This photo appeared in Spring 2004 issue of Ohio Today.

Finlay Photo
Sadly, Roger Finlay passed away on March 13, 2011. The conference room in the Edwards Accelerator Lab was subsequently named the Roger W. Finlay Conference Room in his honor. This large photo from the ground breaking ceremony for the expansion of the Edwards Accelerator Lab now hangs in the conference room.

Harold Knox et al.
Steve Grimes, Ernst Breitenberger, Louis Wright, Harold Knox, Chuck Brient, and Ray Lane, immediately following Harold′s colloquium presented to the Department of Physics and Astronomy on April 22, 2011. Harold received his Ph.D. from Ohio University in 1972 under the supervision of Roger Finlay. After his Ph.D., Harold worked at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Texas A&M before returning to Ohio University as a postdoctoral Fellow. Since 1989 he worked for the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory. Harold passed away a little over a year later, on July 15, 2012.

Control Room October 2011
The accelerator control room on October 20, 2011. The terminal voltage is being regulated by the new Terminal Potential Stabilizer provided by the National Electrostatics Corporation. The unit is sitting on the cart in the foreground. This was the first part of the Pelletron upgrade project. The machine was still utilizing the old belt charging system at this time.

Stabilizer and Controller
The new Terminal Potential Stabilizer and Charging Controller, installed in the control panel on December 15, 2011.

Motors and Pulleys
The chain drive motors and pulleys, awaiting installation, on December 15, 2011.

Some of the installed chains and pulleys on January 17, 2012. Our system utilizes three chains, running vertically. The Pelletron charging system was sucessfully tested at 1 MV terminal voltage on January 24, 2012, and at 4 MV a few days later. Photo by Devon Jacobs.

Experimental Nuclear Science Ph.D. Graduates

Experimental nuclear science Ph.D. graduates from Ohio University. This list includes students who utilized the tandem accelerator for materials science purposes, as well as three students who conducted theoretical research that are included for completeness (two advised by Grimes and one by Finlay). It should also be noted that there were several experimental high-energy physics Ph.D.s in the department in the pre-1975 era who are not included. As of July 2012, the list includes 76 Ph.D.s, of which 58 involved experimetal work performed at at Ohio University.

NameYear AdvisorThesis
Bing Xia2014FrantzNeutral Pion - Charged Hadron Jet Correlations in d+Au Collisions at 200 GeV
Anthony Paul Ramirez2014VoinovStudy of nuclear level density from deuteron induced reactions on iron and copper isotopes
Nowo Riveli2014FrantzDirect Photon - Hadron Correlations Measurement in Au+Au Collision at Nucleon Center-Of-Mass Energy of 200 GeV With Isolation Cut Methods
Dilupama A. Divaratne2014BruneOne and Two Neutron Removal Cross Sections of 24O via Projectile Fragmentation
Youngshin Byun2013GrimesStudy of nuclear level density and gamma-strength function in 90Zr, 196Pt, and 197Pt
Kevin W. Cooper2013IngramCharacterization of diamond like carbon thin films fabricated by unbalanced magnetron sputtering under ultra-high vacuum conditions
Buddhini Waidyawansa2013RocheA 3% Measurement of the Beam Normal Single Spin Asymmetry in Forward Angle Elastic Electron-Proton Scattering using the Qweak Setup
Rakitha Beminiwattha2013RocheA Measurement of the Weak Charge of the Proton through Parity Violating Electron Scattering using the Qweak Apparatus: A 21% Result
Wei Tang2012HicksPhotoproduction of K*+Λ/Σ0 and K0Σ+ from the proton Using CLAS at Jefferson Lab
Daniel Sayre2011BruneMeasurement of the 2.68-MeV resonance interference and R-matrix analysis of the 12C(α,γ)16O reaction
Dustin Keller2010HicksU-spin symmetry test of the Σ*+ electromagnetic decay
Babatunde Oginni2009GrimesStudy of nuclear level densities from evaporation of compound nuclei of mass numbers 61, 64, 65, and 82
Aderemi Adekola2009BruneProton-transfer study of unbound 19Ne via the 2H(18F,α)15O reaction
Shaleen Shukla2008GrimesCalculation of nuclear level densities near the drip lines
Serdar Kizilgul2008HicksStudy of pion photo-production using a TPC detector to determine beam asymmetries from polarized HD
Catalin Matei2006BruneNucleosynthesis of 16O under quiescent helium burning
Ishaq Hleiqawi2006HicksK*0 photoproduction and electroproduction measured at CLAS
Christopher Bade2006HicksRF methods to increase deuteron polarization in HD targets and NMR spin-polarization analysis at LEGS
Yannis Parpottas2004Grimes Astrophysically important states in 18Ne and 26Si studied with the (3He,n) reaction
Glen MacLachlan2004OpperThe ratio of electric and magnetic proton form factors at Q2=1.13 (GeV/c)2 via recoil polarimetry
Americo Salas Bacci2003GrimesLevel densities of 28Si, 46Ti, 52Cr and 60Ni from Ericson fluctuations
Asghar Kayani2003IngramDeposition and characterization of diamond-like carbon films with and without hydrogen and nitrogen
Eugen Trifan2003IngramStudy of the early stages of growth and epitaxy of GaN thin films on sapphire
Raymond Wheeler2002GrimesNuclear spectroscopy using charged particles
James Oldendick2002GrimesLow energy reaction modes of 6Li and 10B on 27Al
Yixiu Kang2002IngramDeposition and Characterization of Amorphous GaN Thin Films
Xiaochun Wang2001RapaportThe 13C(p,n)13N reaction: spin observable measurements at 200 MeV
Diane Reitzner2001OpperCharge symmetry breaking in np→dπ0 close to threshold
Po-Lin Huang1998GrimesThe study of the role of the two-body force in determining level densities
Cheri Hautala1998RapaportMeasurement of polarization observables in the quasielastic region on natCa and natPb using the (p,n) reaction at 200 MeV
Saleh-Ibra Al-Quraishi1997GrimesAnalysis of reaction modes of low energy reactions of deuterons with 56Fe and 27Al nuclei
Michael Maldei1997Ingram /
A study of the suitability of amorphous, hydrogenated carbon (a-C:H) for photovoltaic devices
Soon-Cheon Seo1996IngramThe characterization of diamond-like carbon films deposited using unbalanced magnetron sputtering
Joel Keay1996IngramHydrogen analysis of diamond-like carbon using MeV ion beams
Rodney Michael1995HicksK+-nucleus elastic scattering at 715 and 635 MeV/c
Hong Zhang1995HicksProton compton scattering and π-production with polarized photons
Chi Tang1995IngramA design of experiment study of the nucleation of chemical vapor deposited diamond films
Werner Abfalterer1995FinlayLevel widths and level densities of nuclei in the 32≤A≤60 mass region inferred from fluctuation analysis of total neutron cross sections
Fred Bateman1994GrimesA study of the 29Si level density from 3 to 22 MeV
James Guillemette1994GrimesA study of the higher excitation levels in 14C via the 10Be(α,n0)13C reaction in the 2.5 MeV ≤ Eα ≤8.5 MeV energy range
Xun Yang1994RapaportDipole and spin dipole resonances observed in charge exchange reaction on p-shell nuclei at intermediate energies
Lian Wang1993Rapaportthe 10B(p,n)10C reaction and quasifree scattering on p-shell nuclei at 186 MeV
Henry Clark1993HicksNuclear decay following deep-inelastic scattering at 500 GeV
Earl Saito1993LaneLevel study of 14C via neutron scattering to the unbound levels of 13C
Vivek Mishra1992GrimesLevel density of 57Co in the energy region 1 MeV to 14 MeV
Brent Park1991RapaportEnergy dependence of Gamow-Teller and dipole strength distribution in A = 32 and A = 40 nuclei via (n,p) reactions
Nourredine Boukharouba1991GrimesLow-energy optical model studies on 54Fe and 56Fe
Yun Wang1988RapaportNuclear structure studies with monoenergetic neutrons: zirconium isotopes
Rupak Das1988FinlayUnified description of the n+209Bi mean field between 20 MeV to 60 MeV via the dispersion relation
Edward Sadowski1988LaneA study of the higher excitation levels of 11B via the 10B(n,n)10B and 10B(n,n′)10B*(0.72, 1.74, 2.15, 3.59, 4.77 MeV) reactions
Sharad Saraf1988GrimesMulti-step compound nuclear reactions induced by 8.0 to 14.8 MeV neutrons on 54Fe and 56Fe with comparison to equilibrium and pre-equilibrium models
Paul Egun1987BrientThe study of proton transfer reactions and their application to nuclear level counting via the reactions 23Na,28Si,32S(d,n)
Dau Wang1987RapaportNucleon induced reactions on p-shell nuclei
David Resler1987LaneStructure of 14C via elastic and inelastic neutron scattering from 13C: measurement, R-matrix analysis, and shell model calculations
Hirannaiah Satyanarayana1986GrimesLevel densities of 26Al, 27Al, and 28Si studied with the (d,n) reaction
Md. Saiful Islam1985FinlayElastic and inelastic scattering of nucleons from 16O
Ricardo Alarcon1985RapaportElastic and inelastic scattering of low energy nucleons from 28Si, 32S, 34S and 40Ca
Steven Graham1985GrimesNeutron-induced charged particle reactions on 58Ni and 60Ni with comparision to statistical model calculations
Ali Soleimani Meigooni1984Finlay Nucleon-induced excitation of collective bands in 12C and the application to neutron dosimetry at En>20 MeV
Paul Koehler1984LaneStructure of 19O from measurement and R-matrix analysis of σ(θ) for 18O(n,n′)18O*(1.98 MeV)
Steve Mellema1983FinlayMicroscopic and collective model analysis of nucleon scattering from 54,56Fe
Rajendra Kurup1983FinlayThe isospin and strong coupling effects near shell closing
Ramesh Tailor1983RapaportNeutron scattering from s-d shell nuclei
Vivek Kulkarni1981RapaportStudy of neutron-deuteron reactions using a magnetic quadrupole triplet spectrometer
Mohammed Mirzaa1978RapaportNeutron scattering on even isotopes of tin
Mohammad Hadi Hadizadeh-Yazdi1978Finlay Isospin dependence of nuclear deformations
Roger White1977LaneA study of the higher excitation states of 12B via the 11B(n,n)11B reaction
David Bainum1977FinlayNeutron inelastic scattering from closed-shell nuclei
Kumaroth Devan1976BrientLow-lying states of 104Ag and 106Ag
Tarlok Cheema1976RapaportEnergy dependence of the nucleon-nucleus optical potential via neutron scattering
Juan Ferrer1975RapaportNeutron elastic scattering at 11 MeV and the isospin dependence of the nucleon-nucleus optical potential
Gabriel Doukellis1975RapaportMultilevel multichannel study of the structure of 27Al at excitation energies between 13.0 and 15.0 MeV
Charles Nelson1973LaneA study of the structure of 12B via elastic scattering of neutrons from 11B
Siegfried Hausladen1973LaneA study of the structure of 11B from elastic scattering of neutrons from 10B
John Lemming1972FinlayPolarization and angular distribution of neutrons emitted from the 18O(p,n)18F reaction at proton energies between 3.00 and 3.50 MeV
Harold Knox1972FinlayDifferential cross section and polarization of 2.63 MeV neutrons scattered from 12C
John Cox1972LaneDifferential cross section and polarization for neutrons scattered from 10B at 2.63 MeV
Gene Stoppenhagen1968FinlayPolarization of the neutrons produced in the D(d,n)3He reaction at low deuteron bombarding energies
Michael Gilpatrick1967FinlayAngular correlation of inelastically scattered neutrons and the associated gamma rays from carbon 12 at En=14.65 MeV
Paul Beach1966FinlayElastic scattering of 14.1 MeV neutrons from nitrogen, oxygen, and argon
Albert Frasca1965FinlayElastic scattering of 14 MeV neutrons from carbon, boron, potassium, and calcium
Tran Trong Gien1965FinlayRelativistic formulation of the lifetime matrix in collision theory
Douglas Humphrey1965FinlayThe angular distribution of neutrons inelastically scattered from the 0.48 MeV level of 7Li
William Gettys1964FinlayInelastic nucleon scattering and the shell model
Richard Castle1963FinlayMeasurement of the circular polarization of the 1.28 MeV gamma ray following the beta decay of Europium 154

We are also aware of some additional Ph.D. theses from other institutions that were based in part upon research carried out at the Edwards Accelerator Laboratory:

OU Logo
Edwards Accelerator Laboratory, Athens, OH 45701
Tel: 740-593-1977 Fax: 740-593-1436