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MSU displays FRIB research with national organization

May 23, 2012

The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, or FRIB, and the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, or NSCL, will be part of a national organization to commercialize research from the labs, after MSU joined the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer, or FLC, a national network of federal labs last week.

Joining the consortium will provide MSU with more opportunities to network with research labs across the country, technology manager for MSU Technologies Raymond DeVito said.
DeVito said because the technology in NSCL is more than 30 years old, the facility’s past its prime, and FRIB, the replacement lab, will provide researchers with more modern technology to complete their studies.

“People from all over the country can come and use it,” DeVito said of the labs.

“We have decided to join the consortium so we can participate in the activities that are going on nationwide.”

The NSCL and FRIB are government-funded facilities developed so researchers can make discoveries about properties of isotopes, the physics of nuclei, astrophysics, fundamental interactions and applications to society, said Konrad Gelbke, laboratory director of FRIB and NSCL.

The project will cost slightly more than half a billion dollars, he said, and FRIB will be built on NSCL’s infrastructure.

“(FRIB) will be a facility that will produce isotopes at a rate roughly 100,000 to 1 million times faster,” Gelbke said. “In other words, if you would have to wait a year to see a single isotope, you would see it in a day.”

FRIB is a machine that can produce virtually any isotope one could ever dream of doing research on in the laboratory, Gelbke said. He added he is very excited about the new technology.

Dr. James Kearns, the Midwest deputy regional coordinator for the FLC, said the FLC primarily helps labs network with one another to exchange technology.

Kearns said the partnership helps MSU in two ways — by spinning technology from other labs into MSU, and by spinning out technology and research created in MSU labs.

“It is primarily the networking that goes on with the other federal labs to enhance the education and training that (MSU) representatives will get with regard to technology transfer and … commercialization of federal lab technologies,” he said.

Gelbke said although FRIB will not open until about 2020, it is going to be important in adding to the NSCL, and the commercialization opportunities provided by the FLC will benefit both the existing laboratory and the future FRIB.

“We are setting ourselves up (for a) major breakthrough and discovery by trying to expand the knowledge of atomic nuclei by creating this machine,” Gelbke said.

“Whenever you discover new things there are enormous benefits to mankind.”

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