MottoDiscovery, accelerated
PurposeResearch and Development
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
Coordinates49°14′52″N 123°13′50″W / 49°14′52″N 123°13′50″W /

TRIUMF is Canada's national particle accelerator centre. It is considered Canada's premier physics laboratory,[1] and is consistently regarded as one of the leading subatomic physics research centers on the international level.[2] Owned and operated by a consortium of universities as a joint venture, TRIUMF is located on the south campus of one of its founding members – the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia. TRIUMF houses the world's largest cyclotron,[3] a source of 520 MeV protons, which was named an IEEE Milestone in 2010.[4] TRIUMF's accelerator-focused activities involve particle physics, nuclear physics, nuclear medicine, materials science, and detector and accelerator development.

There are over 500 scientists, engineers, technicians, tradespeople, administrative staff, postdoctoral fellows, and students on the TRIUMF site. The lab attracts over 1000 national and international researchers every year and has generated over $1B in economic impact activity over the last decade.

TRIUMF scientists and university-based physicists develop and implement Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council's (NSERC) long-range plan for subatomic physics.[5] TRIUMF uses these plans to develop its own priorities. TRIUMF has over 50 international agreements for collaborative scientific research.[6]

TRIUMF's cyclotron infrastructure has enabled the laboratory's proton therapy cancer treatment centre – the only one of its kind in Canada.[7] TRIUMF's proton therapy centre is operated in conjunction with the British Columbia Cancer Agency (BCCA) and the University of British Columbia Department of Ophthalmology.[8] The TRIUMF Proton Therapy Centre specializes in the treatment of ocular melanoma and uses protons from the laboratory's 520 MeV cyclotron to irradiate cancerous tumors with high precision, thus destroying the tumor while leaving the surrounding tissue unharmed.[9]

Asteroid 14959 TRIUMF is named in honour of the laboratory.[10]


TRIUMF was founded in 1968 by Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Victoria in order to meet research needs that no single university could provide. The original acronym, stemming from the name TRI University Meson Facility, was dropped and is no longer used to reflect TRIUMF's current state as a consortium of 19 universities. TRIUMF currently has 19 member and associate universities from across Canada.[11]

TRIUMF entrance

Since its inception as a local university facility, TRIUMF has evolved into a national laboratory while still maintaining strong ties to the research programs of Canadian universities. The science program has expanded from nuclear physics to include particle physics, molecular and materials science, nuclear medicine, and accelerator research and development.

TRIUMF's 520 MeV cyclotron was officially commissioned on February 9, 1976 by Pierre Trudeau, the 15th's Prime Minister of Canada. At the commissioning ceremony, he said "I don't really know what a cyclotron is, but I am certainly very happy Canada has one."[12]

Before the Riken SRC (superconducting ring cyclotron) was built, TRIUMF was the world's largest cyclotron in terms of weight and beam or magnetic field radius. The Riken SRC is now heavier than the TRIUMF cyclotron, but TRIUMF has the largest beam radius and the largest vacuum tank. The Riken magnetic field covers from 3.5 m to 5.5 m radius with the maximum beam radius of about 5 metres (200 in). The TRIUMF field goes from 0 to about 320 inches radius with the maximum beam radius of 310 inches. This is because it requires a lower magnetic field to reduce EM stripping.

Laboratory directors

Since its inception, TRIUMF has had eight directors overseeing its operations.

Historic timeline

1965 – BC nuclear physicists agree on meson facility

1968 – John Warren becomes first director of TRIUMF

1969 – TRIUMF holds opening ceremony

1970 – Ground-breaking ceremony

1971 – Cyclotron assembly begins, Reginald Richardson becomes director of TRIUMF

1974 – Cyclotron produces its first beam

1975 – Proton science program initiated, first polarized proton beam, first μSR experiment at TRIUMF

1976 – Pierre Elliot Trudeau's official dedication, Dr. Erich Vogt becomes an Officer of the Order of Canada, Jack Sample becomes director of TRIUMF

1977 – Medium-resolution spectrometer MRS in operation, first Ph.Ds using TRIUMF beams

1978 – Neutron activation analysis started, AECL/Nordion agreement for medical isotope production, first production of Iodine-123 on Beamline 4A for distribution in Canada

1979 – First new pion/muon beamline M13, pion cancer therapy program initiated

1980 – PET camera construction begins (2nd in Canada), TPC built to study rare decas (1st used in an experiment)

1981 – KAON Factory studies initiated, Erich Vogt becomes director of TRIUMF

1982 – Isotope pipeline to UBC hospital installed, completion of n-p and p-p program, AECL Commercial Products ships first isotopes from TRIUMF

1983 – PET dedicated by the Queen, first commercial cyclotron on site, first isotope separation on-line (ISOL) study

1985 – First purpose-built surface muon channel, NSERC funds HERA beamline at the DESY Lab in Germany

1986 – Contribution to 50 MeV beamline to HERA on behalf of Canada

1987 – Yamasaki awarded Imperial Medal (μSR cited), TISOL facility produces first radioactive beam, University of Manitoba and Université de Montréal become associate members, TRIUMF becomes Canada's national meson facility

1988 – EBCO makes first 30 MeV medical cyclotron, KAON Factory project-definition study funded, University of Toronto becomes an associate member

1989 – NRC adds Tech Transfer to TRIUMF mandate, University of Regina becomes an associate member

1990 – TR-30 installed, ISACI(isotope accelerator) design begins

1991Buckyballs studied by μSR, Second arm spectrometer SASP completed

1992 – Rob Kiefl wins Herzberg Medal for MuSR studies, TISOL Red Giant 12C(α,γ)

1993 – Atom trapping begins at TRIUMF, TR-13 medical cyclotron installed

1994 – Alan Astbury becomes director of TRIUMF, ATLAS and LHC involvement at CERN initiated

1995 – Ocular melanoma treatment begins, TRINAT first traps atoms, HERMES detector components to HERA, commercial radiation effect testing with protons begin

1996 – BaBar central wire chamber construction approved

1997 – ISAC-I civil construction begins, TWIST approved, SNO involvement begins, DRAGON experiment proposed

1998 – First beam from ISAC-I, Carleton University and Queens University become associate members, BaBar central wire chamber delivered, NSERC funds DRAGON

1999 – World's highest proton beam current ISOL (isotope online) facility, lifetime measurements of 37-K at ISAC, TRIUMF becomes Canada's National Laboratory for Particle and Nuclear Physics

2000 – Carleton University becomes a full member, McMaster University becomes an associate member, ISAC-II approved, ISAC-I accelerates first stable beam, CSI awarded for new PET, 8π spectrometer moved to TRIUMF

2001 – ISAC first accelerated rare-isotopes, first ISAC-I PRL, TUDA and DRAGON commissioned

2002 – Initial TIGRESS funding, TITAN development begins

2003 – University of Guelph becomes associate member, ISAC-II building opened, LHC magnets delivered to Geneva, Switzerland, ATLAS Tier-1 first CPUs received

2004 – University of Toronto becomes a full member, Saint Mary's University becomes an associate member, Seaborg Award to Don Fleming for pioneering work in muonium, charge radius of 11Li measured, T2K collaboration with J-PARC begins, Synergy Award for collaboration between TRIUMF and Nordion

2005 – 100th patient treated for ocular melanoma, TUDA 21Na(ρ,ρ’)21Na results published, Jean-Michel Poutissou awarded Legion of Honour (France), first muon decay results from TWIST experiment

2006 – DRAGON 26Al(ρ,γ)27Si results published

2007 – Université de Montréal becomes a full member, Synergy Award for collaboration between TRIUMF and D-PACE, Nigel Lockyer becomes director of TRIUMF, first ISAC-II experiment 11Li(ρ,t)9Li measurement with MAYA, mass measurement of 11Li (shortest-lived and lightest ion ever measured in Penning trap)

2008 – TUDA measurement of 18F(ρ,α)15O, TRIUMF forms AAPS (Advanced Applied Physics Solutions) with CECR Research and development partnership with VECC Laboratory, Kolkata, India begins, Mass measurement of 6He (lightest ever so measured)

2009 – TIGRESS fully operational, new Nordion/TRIUMF radio-chemistry R&D initiative, TWIST obtains final results on muon decay, M9 beam line upgrade completed

2010 – ARIEL (Advanced Rare IsotopE Laboratory) project begins, first actinide target at ISAC

2011 – TRIUMF sets a world record for isotope production[13]

2015 – A TRIUMF-led multidisciplinary consortium is awarded the NSERC Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering for their outstanding collaboration in realizing a solution for the safe and reliable production of the critical medical isotope technetium-99m using cyclotrons.[14] The consortium includes physics, chemistry, and nuclear medicine experts from TRIUMF, the BC Cancer Agency, the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (CPDC), the Lawson Health Research Institute, and the University of British Columbia[15]

Other Languages
Deutsch: TRIUMF
українська: TRIUMF