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Physical Sciences and Engineering

Fragment Mass Analyzer

The Fragment Mass Analyzer (FMA) is a recoil mass separator. It separates products of nuclear reactions from unreacted beams and disperses them according to their mass-to-charge state ratio (M/q).

The FMA is located at the ATLAS accelerator at Argonne National Laboratory. It is used to separate nuclear reaction products from the primary heavy ion beam and disperses them by mass/charge (M/q) at the focal plane.

The Argonne Fragment Mass Analyzer
GRETINA in from of the Argonne Fragment Mass Analyzer. The entrance quadrupole doublet fits inside the GRETINA shell

The FMA features wide acceptances in particle energy and M/q, as well as high mass resolution. Magnetic and electric fields (up to 500 kV across a 10 cm gap) are used to guide the desired particles and focus them onto detectors at the focal plane. The FMA rotates about a pivot directly under the target position, although for most experiments it is positioned at 0 degrees to the beam direction.

A wide variety of experiments can be performed at the FMA. High-spin spectroscopy can be conducted by using an array of gamma-ray detectors around the target and tagging each event with the M/q of the recoil nucleus as determined at the focal plane. Both recoil-gamma and recoil-gamma-gamma coincidences have been measured in this way. In the past, FMA was used in conjunction with Argonne’s large arrays of germanium detectors, Gammasphere and GRETINA.

At the focal plane, studies of exotic alpha and proton decays can be carried out with the implantation facility using a double-sided silicon strip detector (DSSD). In addition, a moving tape collector is available for measurements of beta radioactivity. Studies of microsecond isomers can be performed using gamma and electron detectors at the focal plane.

Selected Publications


Michael P. Carpenter
Cary N. Davids
Walter Reviol


K. Auranen, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland
D. T. Doherty, University of Surrey, UK
Tiangheng Huang, Institute of Modern Physics, China
G. Lotay, University of Surrey, UK
D. Rudolph, University of Lund, Sweden
W. B. Walters, University of Maryland
P. J. Woods, University of Edinburgh, UK