A New Cyclotron at Yerevan Physics Institute

YEREVAN—The Alikhanyan National Laboratory in Yerevan (Yerevan Physics Institute, or YerPhi) will soon deliver a new 18 MeV (Million electron Volt) cyclotron to a modern diagnostic center funded by the Armenian government. The cyclotron was purchased from the Belgian company IBA, and installation is set for January 2015. Called Cyclone 18 (C-18), it will be placed in a newly constructed, specially designed building on the grounds of the laboratory. It is one of the most modern cyclotrons in existence today, producing negative proton beams of 18 MeV and deuteron beams of up to 10MeV energies.

The IBA 18 cyclotron
The IBA 18 cyclotron

In addition to providing short-lived radioactive isotopes for positron-electron tomography, Cyclone 18 will be used to expand YerPhi’s capabilities and standing in nuclear physics research, and to develop the applications of nuclear science to society. The science explored at YerPhi will range from studying the stellar nuclear reactions, which are essential to the formation of the solar system, and to understanding the conditions responsible for life on earth, as well as applying the techniques and tools of nuclear science toward understanding early human development. This is also applicable to environmental science and the dating of art and archeological artifacts.

This type of cyclotron is being implemented to produce radio-isotopes for hospitals and research centers all over the world. The production of radio-isotopes in Yerevan will provide services that presently do not exist for patients in Armenia, and potentially provide sales to neighboring countries. The cyclotron will place Armenia on a select list of countries with their own production of radio-isotopes that can be used in medical diagnostics and therapy.

The cyclotrons are also very versatile and can be used to carry out basic nuclear research. Some recent proposals by scientists at YerPhi, approved by the Armenian Ministry of Science and Education, include using the proton beams to study the “Hoyle state,” which is the resonance state that captures an alpha particle to make oxygen and hence facilitated the origin of life in our cosmos. The state was discovered more than 50 years ago, but remains a challenge in physics worldwide. Scientists at YerPhi propose to measure the decay of the Hoyle state.

President Sarkisian, former Minister of Health Dumanyan, and other high-ranking officials and priests at the groundbreaking ceremony of the diagnostic center in October 2012
President Sarkisian, former Minister of Health Dumanyan, and other high-ranking officials and priests at the groundbreaking ceremony of the diagnostic center in October 2012

Other research that can be done with the new C-18 Cyclotron is the conversion of proton beams into a neutron beam for use in a broad class of studies and experiments. Neutrons are fundamental particles that make up the atomic nucleus along with protons. The properties of neutrons, such as their charge neutrality, make them ideal probes to peer inside all types of matter, including nuclei and various types of dense matter. Wavelengths of neutrons are about the same as the distance between atoms, making them an ideal tool to study the engineering of materials, as well as biological, chemical, and physical systems. Neutrons and the likelihood of various materials to absorb neutrons (cross-sections) are important to answering a broad range of open questions from astrophysics, nuclear physics, and material science.

The production of a neutron beam at YerPhi will be an important experimental tool for Armenia. Other societal applications of nuclear physics include energy, climate physics, the physics of art, and archeology.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.


  1. “…funded by the Armenian government. “

    Apparently the Government of Armenia found enough loose change, after massively looting the country, to pay for something useful.
    How did that happen ? I thought they were all ‘thieves’ and only looking after their own pockets.

    On a more positive note, the Alikhanyan National Laboratory in Yerevan was named after Artem Alikhanian, the father of Armenian physics


    {Artem Alikhanian was born 100 years ago on 24 June 1908. With Piotr Kapitsa, Lev Landau, Igor Kurchatov, Abraham Alikhanov (Artem’s elder brother) and others, he laid the foundations of nuclear physics in the USSR. His role as a founder of a large-scale physics research centre in Armenia – the Yerevan Physics Institute – is especially notable.}

    Two of the 5 principal founders of nuclear physics in the entire USSR* were Armenians.
    Read’Em and weep you Turks, Turkbaijanis, your Turkophile admirers, and Anti-Armenian nomads.

    * Population of USSR circa 1940 was about 190 million. In that same period Armenians in USSR, including Armenia SSR, were less than 2 million.

    • Avery,

      There is corruption in Armenia and people living in Armenia know it. Just ask them. It’s not a secret. And it’s painful to see it happen.

      And a lot of corruption and looting happens through the funding of government projects. You just skim some money off the top into your pockets. Or you land a construction project without competing with other bids through your connections in the government, or even having a seat in the parliament.

      Also, these projects tend to be funded through loans, so the government will be paying this off over the years.

      Look at the Russian winter Olympics. $50 billion? Are you kidding me? For a winter Olympics to be used once? Where do you think a lot of that money went? And Russia is more corrupt than Armenia. But Armenia being a tiny country, it’s more damaging.

      You can fund projects such as this and still have corruption at the same time.

    • Yes, of course.

      why am I not surprised.
      of _all_ the 1000s of readers of ArmenianWeekly you are the one who felt compelled to dig up dirt on RoA – even on a super-positive story about Armenia such as this.


      about that corruption thing: I am sure there is no corruption in US, or Europe. And there is no nepotism in US or Europe. Right ?
      Let’s not forget your favourite countries: Turkbaijan and Turkey.
      And no corruption in formerly Neocon infested Republic of Georgia, I presume ?

      btw: how you doing in your search for that Dr. Lemkin video you and your denialoTurkophile buddies have been looking for ?
      Any luck ?
      Let me know if you need my help to lead you and your Turkophile friends astray.

      Call me anytime.
      I am here all day.

      Happy New Year.

    • “about that corruption thing: I am sure there is no corruption in US, or Europe. And there is no nepotism in US or Europe. Right ?”

      Of course there is but those countries that handle corruption better are better off for it. There is also, murder, theft and other crimes in other countries, but you do something about it through the enforcement of law.

      I’m not throwing dirt. I want to see things improve in Armenia. I keep getting the impression that you’re ok with corruption in Armenia and that you don’t want things to improve. Are you ok with how things are? Armenians in Armenia are not happy with corruption in Armenia. What would you say to them? “Suck it up”? If there was corruption in your city or state, would you shut up and take it or point it out?

      How can you call yourself a patriotic Armenian when you’re saying corruption in Armenia is ok? Do you not want less corruption?

    • And for the record you brought up corruption first with this comment:

      “How did that happen ? I thought they were all ‘thieves’ and only looking after their own pockets.”

      I had not made a comment about it. You were trolling and I took the bait it looks like. And I’m not the only one on AW that points out the corruption in Armenia.

  2. I don’t know why we attack the negative wile this is such a huge deal for a suppressed country and people like ours,which country is not corrupted name me one,a penny or billions they are all thieves,im so happy for this achievement,God bless them ,and please do not underestimate our people .

  3. There is the same corruption everywhere…all we can do is work toward accountability of every penny and hope we can slow the corruption down. What’s more grievous is the project’s necessity…it’s usually bad science or prolonged results and scientists asking for more money for nothing more than $$$ and not science.

  4. Armenia had in the soviet time one of the biggest accelerator in the
    country. What happened with that big research machine? Is it old
    and they can not use it themselves, or what ? RV

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