International Particle Physics Outreach Group
Participating Institutes
South Africa
NRF-iThemba LABS

NRF-iThemba Laboratory for Accelerator Based Science

A National Research Infrastructure Platform administered by the National Research Foundation.

NRF-iThemba Laboratory for Accelerator Based Science

NRF-iThemba Laboratory for Accelerator Based Science

Address Old Faure Road
Phone +27218431000
e-Mail Dr Victor Tshivhase
Dr Gillian Arendse
Ambrose Yaga
Research & Teaching

NRF-iThemba LABS is home to SEVEN particle accelerators, of which 6 are located in Cape Town, and the 7th in Johannesburg. The facility in Johannesburg utilizes a 6-MeV Tandem accelerator for research in materials science, as well as for radio-carbon dating studies using an Accelerator Mass Spectrometer (AMS).

The accelerators in Cape Town are used for fundamental and applied research in subatomic physics as well as material science and nanotechnology. In addition, research is also conducted on the interaction of radiation with biological specimens, with specialization in radiation protection and cancer research.

NRF-iThemba LABS has a proud history of being a global player in the production of radioisotopes for research and nuclear medicine applications. Expertise is available in the production of Ge-68/Ga-68 generators for the local and export market, the provision of irradiated targets for the production of Sr-82, the production of I-123 and F-18 for the local market. NRF-iThemba LABS is the ONLY producer in the world of Na-22 for research and industrial applications.

The production of radioisotopes and the ability to perform experiments to advance knowledge in subatomic physics, currently relies on accelerated particle beams being delivered by our 200-MeV separate sector cyclotron. We are in the process of commissioning a new 70-MeV cyclotron that will become the workhorse of our isotope production activities. This will allow us to have the 200-MeV cyclotron available for research on a 24/7 basis.

NRF-iThemba LABS is committed to contribute to the betterment of society through impactful research and training. It is in the process of establishing the Southern African Institute for Nuclear Technology and Sciences (SAINTS) to oversee all training interventions whether short-courses or formalized postgraduate research projects.

Your learning becomes relevant when it is connected with your lived reality.

Even though our mandate highlights the importance of postgraduate students, we understand the importance of a well-established pipeline. This necessitates interventions at various stages of the pipeline that ranges from primary school to higher education.

The Science Engagement team is currently presenting the following activities on a regular basis to impact the system:
Interactive Science Shows are presented to primary school learners to raise an awareness and appreciation of science.
Interactive science talks and workshops are presented to high school learners to introduce them to the research activities at iThemba LABS, but also to support the use of practical investigations as a training and development tool.
Guided tours are offered to university students to expose them to the infrastructure and to share the research opportunities.
We are in the process of establishing an information center in partnership with JINR that will incorporate VR.
Workshops are developed and presented to educators to support the teaching and learning of physical science (physics and chemistry).
Job shadowing opportunities are afforded to learners in year-11, and career exhibitions are presented to expose learners to the "context where science lives."
Master Classes in Particle Physics (ALICE) are presented to introduce learners to the wonder-world of high-energy physics.
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