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About Us

The Louisiana Accelerator Center (LAC) at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is recognized as a Research Center by the Louisiana Board of Regents with active research programs emphasizing biomaterials analysis, microfabrication and high energy focused ion beam system development.

The Center has more than 12,000 sq. ft. laboratory, machine shop and office space and has a large research equipment inventory including:

  • a National Electrostatics Corporation 5SDH-2 1.7 MV tandem PelletronR accelerator with duoplasmatron, radio-frequency and cesium sputtering negative ion sources,
  • an Oxford Microbeam Systems triplet lens ion beam focusing system, and
  • a JEOL (model 6460LV) Scanning Electron Microscope.

Three beamlines on the PelletronR accelerator are used for ion beam analysis, ion beam modification, and high energy focused ion beam microscopy to provide a variety of ion beam techniques using MeV ion beams with spot sizes as small as 1 µm x 1 µm.

LAC provides research facilities for applied physics, materials science, engineering and biological topics. The center is divided into three functional areas:

  1. accelerator control room, shielded target room and experimental area (5,000 sq. ft.),
  2. laboratory and office spaces, and
  3. a machine shop, and storage areas (inside and outside).

The target room contains optical and electron microscopy areas and a 1.7 MV tandem PelletronR accelerator, with duoplasmatron, radio-frequency and cesium sputtering negative ion sources. The addition of a high energy focused ion beam (HEFIB) system provides a variety of analytical and modification techniques with cross sectional sizes as small as 1 x 1 μm. The presently available three beamlines serve for ion beam analysis, ion beam-based material modification, and HEFIB microprobe.

The unique LAC microprobe system uses a magnetic quadrupole triplet lens system to focus high energy ion beams to dimensions smaller than 1 μm x 1 μm for conducting basic research in many areas of materials physics and engineering. The HEFIB microprobe has applications in microfabrication and bio-analysis that are unique to the state of Louisiana and the nation. Early studies indicate that these HEFIB microprobe applications can provide a wide range of unique research capabilities. LAC recently completed construction of a new sextuplet lens HEFIB system to provide a beam spot size less than 500 nm x 500 nm. These specifications surpass capabilities of many competing systems worldwide. Operational tests on that system are now in progress.

The LAC HEFIB microprobe provides significant 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional micro-analysis capabilities over very small regions for researchers in metallurgy, mineralogy, geology, geochemistry, environmental sciences, archaeology, semiconductors, microbiology, plant sciences, biology, and medicine. Development of the microbeam technology to direct writing of lithography masks, production of 3-dimensional, high aspect ratio microstructures and rapid prototyping of micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), to name a few, has already begun.

There are few accelerator facilities existing at other academic institutions in the U.S. like LAC, and LAC is the only U.S. facility that has demonstrated high energy proton beam lithography. The HEFIB nanoprobe system is expected to substantially extend the range of research projects and to provide a common link among a wide array of research disciplines.

Please feel free to contact any of the main staff at LAC for more details.