ISOLDE is a radioactive ion beam facility serving many different experiments in the fields of nuclear and atomic physics, solid-state physics, materials science and life sciences. The facility is located at the Proton-Synchrotron Booster (PSB) of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research CERN. It is operated by the ISOLDE Collaboration, whose present members are: Belgium, CERN, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Finnish participation in ISOLDE activities is co-ordinated via HIP.
At ISOLDE, radioactive nuclides are produced via spallation, fission, or fragmentation reactions in a thick target, irradiated with a proton beam from the PSB at an energy of 1.4 GeV and an intensity up to 2 mA. ISOLDE presently offers a diverse range of radioactive isotopes, and the installation of a post-accelerator at ISOLDE (REX-ISOLDE) has opened new fields of research with radioactive ion beams of higher energies. More than 600 isotopes with half-lives down to milliseconds of almost 70 elements (Z=2 to 88) have been produced at intensities up to 1011 atoms per mA proton beam.
The large variety of available species allows the systematic investigation of atomic and nuclear properties of nuclei far from beta-stability. In addition, research takes place in related fields like astrophysics and weak-interaction physics. Solid-state physics and biomedical studies are an essential part of the scientific programme.
The installation of REX-ISOLDE has opened up new fields of research with radioactive ion beams of higher energies, in particular light-medium mass nuclei for reaction studies with energies up to 3.1 MeV/u. These beams can, for example, be Coulomb excited and studied via gamma-ray spectroscopy using the MINIBALL array.
In future, the maximum beam energy will be increased as part of the HIE-ISOLDE project. Increasing the beam energy will allow a wider range of nuclear reactions to be employed, in turn widening the range of experiments which can be carried out at ISOLDE.