GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research

GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research
GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung
GSI Logo rgb.png
GSI main entrance, Darmstadt, Germany
HeadquartersPlanckstraße 1
64291 Darmstadt, Germany
Administrative Managing Director
Ursula Weyrich
Scientific Managing Director

The GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research (German: GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung) is a federally and state co-funded heavy ion (Schwerion [de]) research center in the Wixhausen suburb of Darmstadt, Germany. It was founded in 1969 as the Society for Heavy Ion Research (German: Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung), abbreviated GSI, to conduct research on and with heavy-ion accelerators. It is the only major user research center in the State of Hesse.

The laboratory performs basic and applied research in physics and related natural science disciplines. Main fields of study include plasma physics, atomic physics, nuclear structure and reactions research, biophysics and medical research. The lab is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres.

Shareholders are the German Federal Government (90%) and the State of Hesse, Thuringia and Rhineland-Palatinate. As a member of the Helmholtz Association, the current name was given to the facility on 7 October 2008 in order to bring it sharper national and international awareness.[1]

The GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research has strategic partnerships with the Technische Universität Darmstadt, Goethe University Frankfurt, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies.[2][3][4]

Primary research

The chief tool is the heavy ion accelerator facility consisting of:

  • UNILAC, the Universal Linear Accelerator (energy of 2 – 11.4 MeV per nucleon)
  • SIS 18 (Schwer-Ionen-Synchrotron), the heavy-ion synchrotron (0.010 – 2 GeV/u)
  • ESR, the experimental storage ring (0.005 – 0.5 GeV/u)
  • FRS Fragment Separator.

The UNILAC was commissioned in 1975, the SIS 18 and the ESR were added in 1990 boosting the ion acceleration from 10% of light speed to 90%.[5]

Elements discovered at GSI: bohrium (1981), meitnerium (1982), hassium (1984), darmstadtium (1994), roentgenium (1994), and copernicium (1996).[6]

Elements existence confirmed at GSI: nihonium (2012), flerovium (2009), moscovium (2012), livermorium (2010), and tennessine (2012).[7]