Centers & Labs

RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science (RNC)

Hideto  Enyo(D.Sci.)
Hideto Enyo

In 1931, Dr. Yoshio Nishina’s laboratory was established in RIKEN. For more than 80 years since then, RIKEN has continued to promote accelerator-based science in Japan and maintained its position as the world’s front runner in the field. On the New Year’s Eve of 2015, a significant milestone was achieved when the naming rights for element 113 was granted to a RIKEN research group. In November 2016, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) officially approved the name and symbol for the new element, “nihonium” and “Nh” proposed by the research group led by Dr. Kosuke Morita. Nihonium thus earned a permanent seat at the periodic table. It was an outstanding achievement, to be the first group not only in Japan but in Asia to have discovered a new element and earning naming rights to it.

The Radioactive Isotope (RI) Beam Factory (RIBF), with the linear accelerator “RILAC” at its first stage that synthesized the new element, is the major infrastructure of the Nishina Center. RIBF consists of the world’s largest superconducting ring cyclotron and a superconducting RI-beam separator. RIBF’s performance and capability to produce unstable nuclei beam is unparalleled in the world.

The primary mission of the Nishina Center is to unravel the mystery of the genesis of the elements in the universe by investigating the nature of nuclei and their constituents, quarks and gluons. The center also aims to explore the potential industrial application of its research on nuclei and elementary particles to agriculture, medicine and other such fields. Incorporating RIKEN’s strength as a multidisciplinary research institute for natural science, the Nishina Center promotes a wide range of cutting-edge research and development, a path pioneered by Dr. Nishina in his days. The Nishina Center was named after him to honor the spirit of this great scientist.

The Nishina Center consists of the following four divisions: Nuclear Science and Transmutation Research Division, Research Facility Development Division, Accelerator Applications Research Division and Subnuclear System Research Division.

The Nuclear Science and Transmutation Research Division designs and conducts physics experiments using RIBF, and in conjunction with the theoretical research of atomic nuclei, aims to unravel the mystery of nucleosynthesis in the universe by creating the ultimate picture of atomic nuclei, and develop nucleosynthesis and nuclear transmutation technology. The Research Facility Development Division develops and operates heavy ion accelerator and experimental facilities at RIBF, and provides the world’s most powerful RI beams to the researchers from all over the world. The Accelerator Applications Research Division uses the Nishina Center’s accelerators to expand the scope of science through the development of highly efficient radiation breeding technologies and new RIs for various applications, as well as conducts applied research such as radiation resistance test of semiconductors. The Subnuclear System Research Division conducts experimental research on elementary particles, nuclei, and materials physics using beams of ions, protons, mesons and muons at the BNL Research Center (United States) and at the RIKEN Facility Office at the RAL (United Kingdom) as well as performs theoretical research on strong interaction.

At present, RIBF can produce RI beam with the intensity exceeding that of its competing facilities around the globe by more than double figures. By investigating many unstable nuclei thus far, the novel structure and hidden properties of atomic nuclei have been revealed and have made it possible to trace the process by which heavy elements were created in the universe. In the future, technology will be developed to verify the prediction that there exist way beyond heavy elements, superheavy elements with much longer half-lives called “Island of stability”, while basic research to make long-lived nuclear waste produced artificially as harmless as possible will also be conducted.

By integrating the legacy of research passed down from Dr. Nishina and the research potential of RIBF, the Nishina Center will continue to strive to develop technology to upgrade the performance of the facility, thus creating new science, technology and innovation.

Main Research Field

Complex systems / Interdisciplinary science and engineering / Mathematical and physical sciences / Chemistry / Engineering


  • Accelerator science
  • Nuclear Physics