The science case of the FRS Ion Catcher for FAIR Phase-0

A Correction to this article is available

This article has been updated


The FRS Ion Catcher at GSI enables precision experiments with thermalized projectile and fission fragments. At the same time it serves as a test facility for the Low-Energy Branch of the Super-FRS at FAIR. The FRS Ion Catcher has been commissioned and its performance has been characterized in five experiments with 238U and 124Xe projectile and fission fragments produced at energies in the range from 300 to 1000 MeV/u. High and almost element-independent efficiencies for the thermalization of short-lived nuclides produced at relativistic energies have been obtained. High-accuracy mass measurements of more than 30 projectile and fission fragments have been performed with a multiple-reflection time-of-flight mass spectrometer (MR-TOF-MS) at mass resolving powers of up to 410,000, with production cross sections down to the microbarn-level, and at rates down to a few ions per hour. The versatility of the MR-TOF-MS for isomer research has been demonstrated by the measurement of various isomers, determination of excitation energies and the production of a pure isomeric beam. Recently, several instrumental upgrades have been implemented at the FRS Ion Catcher. New experiments will be carried out during FAIR Phase-0 at GSI, including direct mass measurements of neutron-deficient nuclides below 100Sn and neutron-rich nuclides below 208Pb, measurement of β-delayed neutron emission probabilities and reaction studies with multi-nucleon transfer.

Change history

  • 10 September 2019

    Due to technical constraints this article was published in volume 240:1 with erroneous article citation ID number 3 whereas this should have been 73 which is corrected as such. Springer Nature sincerely apologizes towards the author(s) for the inconvenience caused.


  1. 1.

    Plaß, W.R., et al.: The FRS Ion Catcher – A facility for high-precision experiments with stopped projectile and fission fragments. Nucl. Instrum. Methods B 317, 457–462 (2013)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Geissel, H., et al.: The GSI projectile fragment separator (FRS): a versatile magnetic system for relativistic heavy ions. Nucl. Instrum. Methods B 70, 457–462 (1992)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Ranjan, M., et al.: Design, construction and cooling system performance of a prototype cryogenic stopping cell for the Super-FRS at FAIR. Nucl. Instrum. Methods A 770, 87–97 (2015)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Dickel, T., et al.: A high-performance multiple-reflection time-of-flight mass spectrometer and isobar separator for the research with exotic nuclei. Nucl. Instrum. Methods A 777, 172–188 (2015)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Dickel, T., et al.: First spatial separation of a heavy ion isomeric beam with a multiple-reflection time-of-flight mass spectrometer. Phys. Lett. B 744, 137–141 (2015)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Purushotaman, S., et al.: First experimental results of a cryogenic stopping cell with short-lived, heavy uranium fragments produced at 1000 MeV/u. EPL 104, 4 (2013)

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Reiter, M.P.: Pilot Experiments with Relativistic Uranium Projectile and Fission Fragments Thermalized in a Cryogenic Gas-Filled Stopping Cell, PhD Thesis, Justus Liebig University Gießen (2015)

  8. 8.

    Reiter, M.P., et al.: Rate capability of a cryogenic stopping cell for uranium projectile fragments produced at 1000 MeV/u. Nucl. Instrum. Methods B 376, 240–245 (2016)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Purushotaman, S., et al.: Hyper-EMG: A new probability distribution function composed of Exponentially Modified Gaussian distributions to analyze asymmetric peak shapes in high-resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Int. J. Mass Spectrom. 421, 245–254 (2017)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Rink, A.-K.: Mass and Life-time Measurement of the 1.7 ms 215Po Isotope - A Crucial Test of the Novel Concept of the Cryogenic Ion Catcher for the Super FRS at GSI-FAIR, PhD Thesis, Justus Liebig University Gießen (2017)

  11. 11.

    Ayet San Andres, S.: Developments for multiple-reflection time-of-flight mass spectrometers and their application to high-resolution accurate mass measurements of short-lived exotic nuclei, PhD Thesis, Justus Liebig University Gießen (2018)

  12. 12.

    Hornung, C.: High-resolution Experiments with the Multiple-Reflection Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer at the Fragment Separator FRS, PhD Thesis, Justus Liebig University Gießen (2018)

  13. 13.

    Ayet San Andres, S., et al.: High-resolution, accurate multiple-reflection time-of-flight mass spectrometry for short-lived, exotic nuclei of a few events in their ground and low-lying isomeric states. Phys. Rev. C 99, 064313 (2019)

  14. 14.

    Miskun, I., et al.: A Novel Method for the Measurement of Half-Lives and Decay Branching Ratios of Exotic Nuclei, submitted for publication; arXiv:1902.11195

  15. 15.

    Hornung, C., et al.: An upgrade to the RFQ beam line of the FRS Ion Catcher. GSI-FAIR Sci. Rep. 2017, 116 (2018).

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Miskun, I.: PhD Thesis, Justus Liebig University Gießen, in preparation

  17. 17.

    Van Isacker, P., et al.: Test of Wigner’s Spin-Isospin Symmetry from Double Binding Energy Differences. Phys. Rev. Lett. 74, 4607–4610 (1995)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Lalleman, A.S., et al.: Mass measurements of exotic nuclei around N = Z= 40 with CSS2. Hyperfine Interact 132, 315–322 (2001)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Lister, C.J., et al.: Gamma radiation from the N=Z nucleus 80Zr. Phys. Rev. Lett. 59, 1270 (1987)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Mukha, I., et al.: Proton–proton correlations observed in two-proton radioactivity of 94Ag. Nature 439, 298–302 (2006)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Kankainen, A., et al.: Mass measurements and implications for the energy of the High-Spin isomer in 94Ag. Phys. Rev. Lett. 101, 142503 (2008)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Schatz, H., et al.: rp-process nucleosynthesis at extreme temperature and density conditions. Phys. Rep. 294, 167–263 (1998)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Plaß, W.R., et al.: Detector tests with the prototype CSC for the Super-FRS and direct mass measurements of neutron-deficient nuclides below 100Sn, Proposal to the G-PAC for FAIR Phase-0 Experiments, GSI Darmstadt. GSI-FAIR Sci. Rep. 2017, 115 (2018).

    Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Dickel, T., et al.: Conceptional design of a novel next-generation cryogenic stopping cell for the Low-Energy Branch of the Super-FRS. Nucl. Instrum. Methods B 376, 216–220 (2016)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Huang, W.J., et al.: The AME2016 atomic mass evaluation. Chin. Phys. C 41, 3 (2017)

    Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Pietri, S., et al.: Search for new neutron-rich isotopes and exploratory studies in the element range from terbium to rhenium, Proposal to the G-PAC for FAIR Phase-0 Experiments, GSI Darmstadt. 2017. GSI-FAIR Sci. Rep. 2017, 99 (2018).

    Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Mumpower, M.R., et al.: Neutron-γ competition for β-delayed neutron emission. Phys. Rev. C 94, 064317 (2017)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Dillmann, I., et al.: Recent activities for β-decay half-lives and β-delayed neutron emission of very neutron-rich isotopes. AIP Conf. Proc. 1594, 332 (2014)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Tarifeño-Saldivia, A., et al.: Conceptual design of a hybrid neutron-gamma detector for study of β-delayed neutrons at the RIB facility of RIKEN. J. Instrum. 12, P04006 (2017)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Winger, J.A., et al.: Large β-Delayed Neutron Emission Probabilities in the 78Ni Region. Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 142502 (2009)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Yee, R.M., et al.: β-Delayed Neutron Spectroscopy Using Trapped Radioactive Ions. Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 092501 (2013)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Evdokimov, A., et al.: An alternative approach to measure β-delayed neutron emission. Proceedings of Science (NIC XII) 115 (2012)

  33. 33.

    Miyatake, H., et al.: . AIP Conf. Proc. 1947, 020018 (2018)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. 34.

    Mardor, I., et al.: A Novel Method for Measuring β-Delayed Neutron Emission, Proposal to the G-PAC for FAIR Phase-0 Experiments, GSI Darmstadt. GSI-FAIR Sci. Rep. 2017, 114 (2018).

    Google Scholar 

  35. 35.

    Zagrebaev, V., et al.: Production of new heavy isotopes in low-energy multinucleon transfer reactions. Phys. Rev. Lett. 101, 122701 (2008)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  36. 36.

    Münzenberg, G., et al.: SHE Research on the way to NUSTAR and FAIR. In: Penionzhkevich, Y., Soblev, Y. (eds.) Exotic Nuclei: EXON-2014 - Proceedings of International Symposium, pp 541–550. World Scientific Publishing (2015)

  37. 37.

    Dickel, T., et al.: Reaction studies with the FRS Ion Catcher: A novel approach and universal method for the production, identification of and experiments with unstable isotopes produced in multi-nucleon transfer reactions with stable and unstable beams, Proposal to the G-PAC for FAIR Phase-0 Experiments, GSI Darmstadt. GSI-FAIR Sci. Rep. 2017, 112 (2018).

    Google Scholar 

  38. 38.

    Karpov, A.V., et al.: Modeling near-barrier collisions of heavy ions based on a Langevin-type approach. Phys. Rev. C 96, 024618 (2017)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  39. 39.

    Amanbayev, D., et al.: Development of the stopping cell for the Low-Energy Branch of the Super-FRS. GSI-FAIR Sci. Rep. 2017, 117 (2018).

    Google Scholar 

Download references


This work was supported by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) under contracts no. 05P15RGFN1 and 05P19RGFN1, by Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen and GSI under the JLU-GSI strategic Helmholtzpartnership agreement, by HGS-HIRe, by the Hessian Ministry for Science and Art (HMWK) through the LOEWE Center HICforFAIR, and by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme contract no. 654002 via the JRA SATNURSE. DLB, PC and AS are supported by Extreme Light Infrastructure Nuclear Physics (ELI-NP) Phase II, a project co-financed by the Romanian Government and the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund - the Competitiveness Operational Programme (1/07.07.2016, COP, ID 1334).

Author information




Corresponding author

Correspondence to Wolfgang R. Plaß.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

This article is part of the Topical Collection on Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Trapped Charged Particles and Fundamental Physics (TCP 2018), Traverse City, Michigan, USA, 30 September-5 October 2018

Edited by Ryan Ringle, Stefan Schwarz, Alain Lapierre, Oscar Naviliat-Cuncic, Jaideep Singh and Georg Bollen

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Plaß, W.R., Dickel, T., Mardor, I. et al. The science case of the FRS Ion Catcher for FAIR Phase-0. Hyperfine Interact 240, 73 (2019).

Download citation


  • Mass measurements
  • Exotic nuclides
  • Nuclear reactions
  • Beta-delayed neutron emission