Particle Therapy Research Center – PARTREC

The accelerator facility at PARTREC is available for radiobiology and radiation damage research. Facility
PARTREC is a dedicated research facility functioning in synergy with the UMCG Groningen Proton Therapy Center (GPTC). We uniquely combine technological development, preclinical and patient studies with an R&D program to continuously improve proton therapy technology and the treatment itself, while assessing the feasibility of other particles for high precision radiotherapy.

We operate a large superconducting cyclotron for experimental research, mainly in radiation physics and biology. We support further development of radiotherapy with ion beams and working with cyclotrons and accelerators.

  • The cyclotron delivers beams of various ions ranging from protons to oxygen with energies up to 190 MeV (for protons) and 90 MeV per amu (for ions of helium to oxygen).
  • The accelerator is furthermore used for research in nuclear physics by faculty of the University of Groningen and for commercial radiation hardness testing with the possibility of using a heavy ion cocktail of ions as massive as Xe at an energy of 30 MeV per amu.

Our technical staff operate the accelerator facility and provide support to design, build and operate experimental apparatus.


Building better proton therapy treatments

We promote multidisciplinary research and aim for better physics and biology, imaging, big-data analysis and clinical research to improve the quality of proton therapy treatment and explore potential benefits of other particles of cancer treatment.

Our collaborations

We are embedded within the Departments of Radiation Oncology and Biomedical Sciences of Cells and Systems.

We are part of a new research infrastructure for image guided preclinical irradiaties (IMPACT), supported by an infrastructure grant awarded by the Dutch Cancer Society in 2019 and is expected to be fully operational by 2023.

Apply for beam time

The PARTREC accelerator facility performs irradiations with protons and heavy ions for radiobiology research and radiation hardness testing of electronics. 

For more information or to apply for beam time you can find our contact details below.

    1. Beam Particle
    2. Energy
      • 10-184 MeV for protons
      • Maximum 90 MeV per amu for 4He, 12C, 16O of 20Ne
      • 30 MeV per amu 20Ne, 40Ar, 84Kr of 129Xe
    3. Flux
      • 1E4-1E8 protons per cm2 per second (depending on field)
      • 10-10E5 ions per cm2 per second for heavy ions
    4. Field shape and size Field homogeneity
    5. Description of samples (dimensions/materials)
    6. Preference for the period in which irradiation is to be planned

    For proton and carbon beams we can also irradiate using a spread-out Bragg peak.

    • The superconducting AGOR cyclotron provides protons up to 190MeV and heavy ion beams of 30MeV per amu (up to Xenon), or 90MeV per amu (up to Oxigen)
    • For more specifications of our equipment, please contact us (find contact details below)
    • This set-up can be used for cell culture irradiations, various tests for medical diagnostic equipment, as well as for commercial irradiations of electronic devices for space research
    • For cell cultures a flow cabinet and incubators are available. This equipment can be used in two separated laboratories

Features of the facility

    • Scatter foils and x/y scan magnet system provide a homogeneous beam
    • The magnets scan the heavy ion beam over an area of 30x30mm2 or larger
    • Protons can be scanned over an area of 100x100mm2 with a homogeneity of better than 10% at a frequency up to 200 Hz
    • Flux is monitored using four fast scintillation ‘edge detectors’ (YAP:Ce crystals readout with a Hamamatsu R12421 photo multiplier)
    • The ratio between upper/lower, left and right ‘edge detectors’ monitors the field uniformity
    • Fluence is measured using a scintillation detector with a known surface area
    • A remotely controlled degrader system is used such that degrader material of different thicknesses can be inserted in the beam to vary beam energy on the device under test
    • A Si detector is used to guarantee beam purity
    • A scintillation foil (LaneXtm) is used to check field homogeneity
    • XYZ translation + rotation around Y-axis allows fine tuning of energy and effective LET


Marc-Jan van Goethem Contact liaison for beam time request / booking

Zernikelaan 25
9747 AA