Heavy Ion Accelerators (HIA)

Aerospace - astronomy - satellites, Agriculture - horticulture - viticulture, Animal health and veterinary sciences, Biological and life sciences, Biomedical and clinical sciences, Climate science, Defence and security industries, Education and training, Environmental management and policy, Environmental sciences and technologies, Healthcare and social services, Manufacturing, Mineral resources, Physical sciences, Public policy
Ion accelerators, Material characterisation, Materials synthesis and modification

About this Provider

The capabilities of the Heavy Ion Accelerators (HIA) network are unique in Australia and rare in the world. We provide a national network of state-of-the-art accelerators with highly specialised yet agile capabilities, which quickly respond to meet national priorities, and address a wide range of scientific and industrial challenges.

Our experts work with Australian and international researchers, industry and government professionals to develop new technologies, grow scientific knowledge and support Australian industry. That knowledge is vital for developing many unique, cutting-edge technologies and applications:

  • We can test whether spacecraft components are ready for the harsh conditions of space and build our understanding of space weather and environmental conditions.
  • New cancer therapies such as accelerated proton and carbon beams require an in-depth understanding of how radiation interacts with the human body and the knowledge of state-of-the-art detector technologies.
  • Environmental radiation monitoring technologies can help stop soil erosion, make sure bush foods are safe to eat, and protect our precious Great Barrier Reef from the impacts of sediment run-off.
  • We can make advanced materials and sensors for quantum computers, solar cells, electronics and more by using carefully controlled ion beams to modify and fabricate materials.

Contact Information


We can help

We provide a national network of state-of-the-art accelerators with highly specialised yet agile capabilities, which quickly respond to meet national priorities, and user needs to address a wide range of scientific and industrial challenges. We leverage 50 years of experience in fundamental nuclear physics and accelerator and detector technologies to assist users in designing optimal experiments that best serve their specific needs. Our experts work with Australian and international researchers, industry, and government professionals.

With R&D capabilities unparalleled in Australia and matched by few globally, we support a broad range of research activities and industries, in such sectors as nuclear technologies, defence and public policy, quantum computing, space and astronomy, advanced materials, environment and climate, cancer therapies, minerals exploration, food and agriculture.

Furthermore, by providing students access to world class facilities, we support host universities in delivering hands-on teaching and training for the next generation of scientists, industry-based researchers, and the broader nuclear-literate workforce through a range of undergraduate, postgraduate and short course study options.


Our network of accelerators is spread across three nodes. Each facility has unique capabilities that cater for distinct yet complementary areas of research and applications.

  • Operates the highest energy ion accelerator in Australia and one of the highest voltage accelerators in the world.
  • Enables world-leading nuclear, quantum, and materials research, and cutting-edge ultraprecision atom counting for climate and environmental research.
  • A unique national resource for nuclear science teaching and training for government policymakers, nuclear medicine, and industry.
  • Applications in cancer therapies, agriculture, environment and climate research, semiconductors, spacecraft and satellites, and advanced materials fabrication.
  • Operates a coordinated suite of small accelerators for physics, engineering, and materials science research.
  • Applications in microelectronics, photonics, nanotechnology, photovoltaics, and quantum devices.
  • Unique ion-implantation capabilities for a broad national and international user base.
  • Operates a nuclear ion microprobe, for state-of the-art imaging and microanalysis.
  • Applications in quantum atom manipulation, nanofabrication, minerals, and mining exploration.
  • National and international linkages include two ARC Centres of Excellence.


Radiation testing


Ion implantation

Ultraprecision atom counting

Nuclear science teaching and training

Quantum magnetic sensors

Fabrication of superconducting and semiconducting materials

Elemental Microanalysis

Quantum fabrication

Quantum fabrication


We operate two coupled heavy ion accelerators: a 15 million volt 14UD Tandem van de Graaff accelerator and a 6 million volt equivalent superconducting linac booster. The facility runs 24/7 for between 3500 and 5000 hours per year and delivers beams of nearly any element to one of 11 beam lines, each with specialised instrumentation for fundamental and applied research and analytical measurements.

The state-of-the-art Space Irradiation Beamline at the Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility (HIAF-SIBL), developed with the support of the Australian Space Agency, provides the essential radiation testing the space industry needs. HIAF-SIBL emulates the radiation conditions in space in a dedicated chamber where space equipment can be placed and tested for their specific mission requirements, allowing industry to test for the most damaging radiation that their equipment will be exposed to. We offer the highest-energy heavy ion space radiation testing facility in Australia providing a unique opportunity for the space industry to engage with.

Our facility operates three electrostatic accelerators for ion-beam modification and analysis of materials. The high energy ion implanter (1.7 MV tandem accelerator) can produce ions with energies up to 10 MeV, whilst the low–energy ion implanter operates in the energy range 15 – 150 keV, each implanting ions from a broad range of elements into cooled or heated (77 – 670 K) samples. We are the only facility in Australia for controlled implantation of a broad range of atomic species into a wide range of materials. This capability supports research in areas such as microelectronics, optoelectronics, photonics, materials science, quantum computing and sensing devices.

We operate an NEC 5U tandem electrostatic accelerator operated as a proton microprobe, delivering ion beams to three beamline instruments including the world-leading MAIA X-ray pixel detector array for materials analysis. We also operate a low energy Colutron ion implanter, housed in a clean-room, capable of implanting argon, nitrogen and phosphorous ions. We are a partner of the ARC Centre for Excellence for Quantum Computing and Technology (CQC2T) and host a joint program with the CSIRO Division of Exploration and Mining on the analysis of geological materials. Our partnerships and facilities have enabled researchers to develop the blueprints for a large-scale quantum computer and ultra-sensitive magnetic probes to detect the electromagnetic signal of cellular processes in biology.

With the nation’s highest-energy ion accelerator and its internationally-recognised team of scientists and technicians, we are uniquely placed to support Australia’s sovereign skills base in nuclear science. Our facilities support the provision of education and training for a wide range of skill levels, educational backgrounds and contexts. They include dedicated instruments and equipment for nuclear physics experiments, including fusion, fission, nuclear structure, astrophysics, and electron spectroscopy.

15MV ion accelerator and Linac

Nuclear Education and Training

Experimental Condensed Matter Physics Accelerator

Ion Beam Analysis and Ion Implantation

Space Irradiation Beam Line

To access the facility, please submit an enquiry via the website Contact page or via email hia.admin@anu.edu.au. Our project administrators will put potential users in contact with the most appropriate staff to discuss our capabilities and potential collaboration. After the initial contact, our staff will develop a customised experimental plan to meet users’ needs and timelines. Cost of access is defined by the number of days of the booking and varies among the three HIA nodes.

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