(image: the DRAGON experiment in TRIUMF’s Isotope Separator and Accelerator (ISAC-1) facility)
In Fall 2021, teams working on DRAGON (the Detector of Recoils And Gammas of Nuclear Reactions) marked a celebratory occasion for the twenty-year anniversary of the experiment’s commissioning, acknowledging a key milestone for the long-standing TRIUMF community of nuclear physicists, engineers, technicians, and students.
The DRAGON experiment has been a mainstay in TRIUMF’s scientific portfolio since 2001, measuring the majority of the world’s radiative capture reactions with rare isotope beams so far and, in the process, making a number of first-in-the-world measurements.
DRAGON uses beams of rare isotopes, targets, and a suite of highly sensitive detectors to study certain nuclear reactions that occur in stars, called ‘radiative capture’ reactions, to try and better understand how (and how quickly) different elements are produced in explosive stellar environments. This information is vital for helping us understand the lives of stars, the manner in which elements are formed, and how the proportions of matter we see in the universe came to be.