Research & Partnerships

Student Education & Training

The Ion Beam Lab (IBL) regularly plays an important role in doctoral dissertations, as well as undergraduate- and graduate-level theses, for students at UAlbany, SUNY Poly, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and other institutions.  

Additionally, three undergraduate laboratory classes offered by UAlbany’s Physics Department use the IBL’s facilities to perform experiments.


An instructor in a blue polo shirt gestures as two students take notes on tablets inside a room full of machinery and wires.


Research Projects & Proposals by UAlbany Faculty 

The Ion Beam Lab (IBL) provides UAlbany researchers with access to essential experimental equipment and spectrometers to perform their research and often allows them to secure extramural grants. Representative recent research projects by our faculty include: 

Cancer Treatment — Dr. Rabi Musah, Chemistry

Dr. Rabi Musah is working on leading edge research in Boron Neutron Capture Therapy. This research involves developing a technique to treat cancer with lower doses of neutrons by optimizing the chemical components of the treatment.  

The IBL has developed and implemented a system that exposes Dr. Musah’s biological samples to measured doses of thermal neutrons and to evaluate the effectiveness of the boron compounds developed in destroying cancerous cells.

Dark Matter — Dr. Cecilia Levy, Department of Physics

Dr. Cecilia Levy — in collaboration with Dr. Matthew Szydagis (UAlbany, Physics) and Dr. Ethan Brown (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Physics) — is working on detecting Dark Matter by analyzing geological samples for evidence of neutron activity eons ago.  

The IBL provides reference samples for study by exposing geological samples to large doses of high energy neutrons.

Tabletop Cyclotron — Dr. William Lanford, Department of Physics

Dr. William Lanford has prepared and submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy a funding proposal to build a tabletop Cyclotron, adding new and modern ion beam capabilities to the IBL.

Mineral Diffusion — Dr. Daniele Cherniak, Department of Physics

Dr. Daniele Cherniak, a prolific IBL user, has joined UAlbany as adjunct faculty.

She brings two of her grants to UAlbany and has been actively pursuing new funding and conducting research at IBL. She has received a significant NSF grant to conduct her studies of diffusion in minerals. 

Dirty Bomb Detection — Dr. Matthew Szydagis, Department of Physics

Dr. Matthew Szydagis is working on developing advanced neutron detection equipment that can be used to detect the byproducts of Dark Matter decay.  

This equipment can also be repurposed to detect radioactive devices hidden in shipping containers or public places, which is of vital importance to homeland security.

The IBL provides exact doses of neutrons to test and calibrate the equipment.

3D Printing in Medicine — Dr. Carolyn MacDonald, Department of Physics

Dr. Carolyn MacDonald and her graduate student Uttam Pyakurel are working with a company that produces 3D custom printed shielding for nuclear medicine applications.

The IBL provides the experience, radioactive sources and measurement instruments needed to test the effectiveness of the final products. The support provided by the IBL extends beyond just ion beams.

PFAS Degradation — Dr. Yanna Liang, Department of Environmental & Sustainable Engineering

Dr. Yanna Liang is considering performing feasibility experiment on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) present in water supplies, with the goal of degrading them using a neutron beam at IBL.  

PFAS contaminants in water pose a serious health hazard that she seeks to mitigate.


A woman with dark hair in a bun sits in a chair in front of a large instrument panel. With one hand she presses one of the buttons and with the other hand she takes notes.


Economic Development & Community Engagement 

For years, the Ion Beam Lab (IBL) has provided many academic, industry and government laboratory partners with the training, instrumentation and collaboration needed to perform research using ion beam experimental techniques. 

Recent Academic Partnerships

Baylor University, Department of Geosciences

Dr. Roy Bassoo is studying the color change caused in diamonds by decaying Uranium present in the magma that contained them.  

The IBL provides precise Alpha particle doses at known energies to simulate the processes that may have led to that color change.  

The effects of this exposure on other minerals will also be studied. 

University of Virginia, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Dr. Jon Ihlefeld and his graduate student Ian Brummel are working on Lithium battery technology. The IBL measures the Lithium content in ceramic materials to help determine the ion transport mechanism during charging and discharging.  

The measurement techniques used for this research were pioneered at the IBL and are being further refined for low concentrations of Lithium. 

University of Missouri-Kansas City, Department of Physics and Astronomy

Dr. Michelle M. Paquette and her graduate student Sai Siva Kumar are working on thin films deposited on a Silicon substrate. The IBL primarily measures the Hydrogen content of thin films. 

Dr. William Lanford of IBL is working closely with Sai Kumar to create samples at UMKC that will yield the most useful data for their research. This type of interaction between UAlbany faculty and graduate students from other institutions is extremely helpful for the client university

SUNY Poly and BMW

SUNY Poly’s College of Nanoscale Science & Engineering is an Academic Affiliate of the Ion Beam Laboratory.  

SUNY Poly researcher Dr. Harry Efstathiadis is working with BMW and the IBL staff to develop techniques to better understand the movement of Lithium ions within the battery to help extend their service life. The IBL provides the project with the unique analysis techniques needed for such an endeavor.

Recent Industry Partnerships

Material Diagnostics

Material Diagnostics, LLC is an Industrial Affiliate of the Ion Beam Lab. The company uses the IBL facility to conduct research on the effects of irradiation on materials, on behalf of its clients.


IBM is conducting thin film analysis associated with conventional microchip design and fabrication, as well as new research involving Artificial Intelligence and Quantum computing.  

Although IBM has their own accelerator, the IBL facility provides IBM with analysis techniques that are not available anywhere else.


Intel is interested in thin film analysis associated with the design and production of advanced microprocessor manufacturing.  

The IBL facility provides Intel with analysis techniques that are not available anywhere else.

Tokyo Electronics (TEL)

Tokyo Electronics is conducting thin film analysis associated with the design and production of advanced microprocessor manufacturing.  

The IBL facility provides TEL with analysis techniques that are not available anywhere else.

Akoustis Technologies

The IBL analyzes samples provided by Akoustis Technologies. A non-disclosure agreement bars disclosure of further details.

Nokomis Incorporated

The IBL analyzes samples provided by Nokomis Incorporated. A non-disclosure agreement bars disclosure of further details.

Recent Government Partnerships

Oakridge National Laboratories

Dr. Balajee Adayabalam is working on developing calibration curves to determine the dose of radiation individual patients have been exposed to.   

The IBL planned to expose biological samples provided by Oakridge to specific doses of radiation, which are then analyzed to develop the calibration curves. This work was disrupted by the onset of COVID-19 and will be restarted.

NASA’s Genesis Discovery Mission

Dr. Amy Jurewicz and Dr. Mukul Sharma are working on determining the content of the solar wind to better understand the inner workings of the sun.  

The IBL provides implant services to create reference samples for the SIMS analysis used by Dr. Jurewicz and Dr. Sharma. The IBL developed and implemented methods to implant Osmium in Silicon — something not easily obtained anywhere else.  

The IBL plans to develop very low energy implant techniques that will allow NASA to study space weathering on components used in satellites and probes used for deep space exploration.  

This involves a redesign of the configuration and control mechanism of the Extrion ion implanter. Its implementation will be of great interest to the space community.

Dynamic Radiation Solutions, Rochester Institute of Technology & the United States Air Force

Dr. Robert Lowell (DRS), Dr. George Nelson (RIT) and Dr. Seth Hubbard (RIT) working with the U.S. Air Force are developing and testing electronic devices that are going to be utilized in satellites and exposed to the radiation of space.  

The IBL provides the unique capability to simulate the solar wind to which a satellite is exposed in near Earth orbits and exposing the samples as they are being monitored.  

Phase one is complete and the deliverables have been transferred to the Air Force for incorporation in their designs. Phase two of the project is currently underway and will further refine the models delivered to the Air Force.