Archives of Isotope Separator On Line-DEtector, ISOLDE

Identity Statement [Top]

Reference code(s)



Archives of Isotope Separator On Line-DEtector, ISOLDE


CERN-ARCH-ISOLDE-1 From January 1964 to May 1990 - Pre-1990
CERN-ARCH-ISOLDE-2 From August 1991 to March 2003 - Post-1990
CERN-ARCH-ISOLDE-3 From November 1964 to June 2002
CERN-ARCH-ISOLDE-4 From January 1960 to October 2001
CERN-ARCH-ISOLDE-5 From November 1960 to December 2003

Level of description


Extent of the unit of description

130 boxes, 346 items, 15 linear metres


Name of creator

ISOLDE Collaboration

Administrative history

In the early 1960s European nuclear physicists and nuclear chemists started discussions about the feasibility of a general purpose on-line project for the production of short lived nuclei.

In 1964 an Isotope Separator was designed to put into the Synchro-Cyclotron (SC) accelerator external proton beam in order to study short lived activities. This project was accepted and carried out jointly by the CERN Nuclear Physics Division and visiting teams from many outside universities.

In 1965 the construction of the electromagnetic isotope separator for ISOLDE (Isotope Separator On Line DEtector) started in Aarhus, Denmark.

In 1967 the underground hall at ISOLDE was ready and the first test experiment was performed on 16 October. The experiments were immediately successful and the Collaboration could identify several new istopes of the four elements Krypton, Xenon, Mercury and Radon (ISOLDE-1).

In 1974 ISOLDE-2 was built to handle the SC beam intensity upgrade.

In the late 1980s the ISOLDE Collaboration decided to build a new isotope separator (ISOLDE-3) to make maximum use of the available beam time and to serve the increasing physics community. For lack of place, the ISOLDE-3 was put inside the SC proton hall, which became a new experimental area for ISOLDE.

In 1990 the SC was shut down and ISOLDE moved to the PS Booster, which had unexploited capacity to produce more 1 GeV protons than were needed by other customers. During 1991 the new experimental area was constructed and in Spring 1992 the first beam tests were performed.

In 1995 REX-ISOLDE (Radioactive Beam EXperiment at ISOLDE) was approved by the CERN Research Board. This development was a pilot experiment with energetic radioactive ions at the new ISOLDE. It made full use of the low energetic 1+-beams delivered from the on-line mass separator ISOLDE.

ISOLDE, operated by the ISOLDE Collaboration, was a facility dedicated to the production of a large variety of radioactive ion beams for a great number of different experiments, e.g. in the field of nuclear and atomic physics, solid-state physics, life sciences and material science. In May 1998 ISOLDE acquired the status of a Large Scale Facility within the TMR (Training and Mobility of Researchers) programme of the European Commission.

* Source : CERN-EP-99-040, "Infinitely CERN, Memories from fifty years of research"

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Hansen, Peder Gregers of Institute of Physics and Astronomy, University of Aarhus C, Denmark, April 1992 PS-ISOLDE Group, April 1993 Helge Ravn, January 2004.

Item ISOLDE-1-46 was given by Bernard Poulten.

Content & Structure [Top]

Scope and content

This collection includes documents on:

  • Minutes of the ISOLDE Committee and Sub-committees 
  • ISOLDE proposals and selected documents
  • Discussions about the future of the ISOLDE programme
  • ISOLDE Experiments files
  • ISOLDE Experiments Committee (ISC) minutes
  • ISOLDE and Neutron Time-of-Flight Experiments Committee (INTC) minutes

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information

Nothing was destroyed.


Further accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

The original order has been preserved.

Conditions of access and use [Top]

Conditions governing access

See file level description and the CERN operational circular No 3: rules applicable to archival material and archiving at CERN. In general, records on any subject that are over 30 years old, and all records of a purely scientific nature, may be consulted.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright is retained by CERN, no reproduction without permission.

Language / scripts of material

Most of the material is written in English and some in French .

Finding aids

Listed to file level in the CERN Archives Database.

Description control [Top]

Archivist's note

Description prepared by Cristelle Baumgartner.

Date(s) of description

Geneva, the 13th January 2004, Revised 2007-2014.

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