The Bates Research and Engineering Center (formerly the Bates Linear Accelerator Center) is an MIT owned facility located on 79.45 acres in Middleton, MA.
Bates is a multi-purpose laboratory and is part of the MIT Laboratory for Nuclear Science. There are currently 20+ physicists, engineers, and technicians on-site who are adept at designing and building complex experimental equipment. In addition, there are administrative personnel and personnel from the MIT Environment, Health, and Safety office and from the MIT Department of Facilities.
Bates was established in the late 1960s as a National User Facility for Nuclear Physics, supported by the Department of Energy (then called the Atomic Energy Commission). The centerpiece of Bates from the beginning was a 500 MeV electron linear accelerator that provided beams of electrons for a wide range of scientific experiments performed by users from around the world. The accelerator underwent three major upgrades over the years. The first consisted of the installation of a recirculator that doubled the maximum energy of the beam. The second was the construction of a second experimental area that greatly enhanced the types of experiments that could be performed. Finally, a stretcher/storage ring was constructed that made possible experiments with continuous beams as well as experiments using internal targets.
Over the years Bates has pioneered a number of experimental techniques, including the use of energy-loss spectrometry to provide high resolution, the use of polarized electron beams for studies of nuclear properties and of fundamental interactions, the use of coincidence spectrometers, the use of internal gas targets, and the use of polarized targets.
The main current mission of Bates is to support a variety of experimental projects being pursued by MIT researchers and their collaborators. These projects are among the most important in the world in the areas of nuclear and particle physics. In addition Bates staff collaborate with industry, especially in the areas of medical physics and homeland security, when Bates can bring a unique capability that is not otherwise available.
Bates is also home to the largest capability for High Performance Computing that MIT operates. This HPC capability is used by MIT researchers from across the Institute.
Bates has a long and proud history of involving undergraduate and graduate students in its research activities. Approximately 120 Ph.D. theses have been written on research performed at Bates, about half of these by MIT students and the other half by students from other universities.