Birmingham accelerator and imaging facilities

The University of Birmingham has unique facilities, and the work we do – from nuclear research to isotope production for medical imaging – is wide-ranging, cutting-edge and life-changing.

Birmingham is the only university in the UK with an MC40 cyclotron (particle accelerator). Originally designed for industrial use, we have adapted it to enable us to also carry out fundamental research and push the frontiers of nuclear science.

The MC40 cyclotron is the latest in a series of particle accelerators operated at Birmingham since the 1930s. Brought over from America 15 years ago, it delivers a flexible range of ions and energies. It is capable of accelerating hydrogen (protons and deuterons) and helium (helium-3 and helium-4) with high intensities to energies at which it’s possible to perform nuclear reactions.

The flexibility and reliability of the cyclotron – and the expertise of our nuclear physics, particle physics and medical physics groups in manipulating its capabilities – have led to us carrying out a wide range of commercial and research work for, among others, hospitals, Formula 1 and CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.

Our activities have expanded significantly in the past few years. With the cyclotron only half-way through its expected lifespan, our aim is to broaden still further our research, as well as continuing our long-established applications and commercial work, thus bringing benefits to more users from across the UK nuclear community.

NNUF funded user access scheme

Facilities associated with NNUF (including the High Flux Accelerator-Driven Neutron Facility at the University of Birmingham) are free at the point of access for successful applicants to the NNUF funded user access scheme. UK-based university researchers, together with their international collaborators, are eligible to apply for this scheme.

As a first step, please email to contact the High Flux Accelerator-Driven Neutron Facility for a discussion about the practical feasibility of your proposed research project. Then, you will need to complete a simple NNUF application form. When doing so, please upload an email exchange between you and a member of staff at the High Flux Accelerator-Driven Neutron Facility confirming the feasibility of your proposed research. Please see the access page of the NNUF website for more detail about the NNUF funded user access scheme.

Until the High Flux Accelerator-Driven Neutron Facility comes online (currently scheduled for spring 2022), the NNUF funded user access scheme will warmly accept applications for use of the existing MC40 Cyclotron Facility at the University of Birmingham. Again, please email for a discussion regrading feasibility, and upload an email exchange as evidence of this, when completing the NNUF application form.