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NSRL User Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

First-time User Information

  1. You MUST complete a dry run of your experiment before conducting your first NSRL run.
  2. When planning an exposure, the time you need for each sample exposure should include time to change samples. If RHIC is running, the sample changing time is approximately 4 minutes. If RHIC is not running, time to change samples is only about 2 minutes.
  3. The size of the radiation field that can uniformly expose a set of samples can be as large as 20 x 20 cm2 for most ions and energies. By special request, the NSRL beam can operate in Large Beam mode with a 60 x 60 cm2 usable beam size.
  4. If you have further questions, please check other pages in the user guide and then contact NSRL personnel at 631.344.3072 or 631.344.5830.

Electronics & Physics Experiments

  1. A rotation table allows experiments to be mounted centered on the beam and rotated to any angle with an accuracy of approximately 1 degree.
  2. A translation table allows many samples to be mounted on a table that can be remotely controlled to move samples into or out of the beam without any access required.
  3. A variety of sample holders are available at the facility to assist in mounting devices under test. Please see the Sample Holder page for more information
  4. The data acquisition equipment at NSRL consists of VME crates with a variety of ADCs, TDCs, and scalers that can be used to accommodate most physics experiments. Data rates in excess of 2kHz (600 events per spill) are practicable, with data recording in the format of ASCII files or ntuples. Contact the NSRL Liaison Physicist at for more information.
  5. Beam signals to indicate when beam is possible to occur or when beam is incident on the target are able to be generated at any point of the facility. These signals can be provided as TTL (with voltage of your specification, base 2.3V0) or NIM (fast-negative logic). The signals generated for experimenters have 50Ω impedance through BNC coaxial cables.
  6. Heat guns and compressed air lines are available to experimenters if requested. Contact the liasion physicist to discuss specifications.
  7. An Electronics testing presentation (pdf, 5 MB) has been produced to inform users of the NSRL facility and use of heavy ion beams.

Biology Experiments

  1. For users preparing cell exposures, incubators are available to keep cell samples at constant temperature and humidity during the length of an exposure. Incubators are available for 15 x 15 cm2 and 60 x 60 cm2 exposure areas. Contact NSRL personnel for more information.
  2. Standard sample holders are available for cells at NSRL. Holders for various types of T75, T25, and test tube sizes have already been made up. If the sample holders do not fit your needs, custom sample holders can be prepared with a few hours advance notice. If you are bringing your own sample holders, make yourself familiar with the information regarding beam fragmentation and the documentation on sample stacking.
  3. A sample flipper is available that allows flasks to remain horizontal until the time of exposure, keeping the cells in the medium as long as possible.
  4. There are multiple sample holders that allow up to 10 samples to be placed in the beam per exposure. In most cases, the time taken to load the samples into the sample holders is longer than the exposure itself, and so there is no benefit in planning to expose a large number of samples in a single entry. At the request of users, custom sample holders can be fabricated at NSRL with only a few hours notice.
  5. For exposures to only part of a sample, collimators can be arranged that shield all parts of a sample except for the region to be exposed.