Particle Therapy Research Center (PARTREC)

Particle Therapy Research Center (PARTREC)

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

The facility operates a large superconducting cyclotron for experimental research, mainly in the fields of radiation physics and biology. We support the further development of ion beam radiotherapy and the use of 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 also used by the University of Groningen for nuclear physics research and for commercial radiation-hardness testing, with the possibility of using a heavy cocktail of ions as massive as Xe, with an energy of 30 MeV per amu.

Our technical staff operate the accelerator facility and provide support for designing, building, and operating experimental apparatus.


Improving proton therapy treatments

PARTREC promotes multidisciplinary research and aims 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 used for cancer treatment.

The facility is embedded within the departments of Radiation Oncology and Biomedical Sciences (BMS).

The facility is 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.

Applying for beam time

The PARTREC accelerator facility performs proton and heavy-ion irradiations for the purpose of radiobiology research and radiation-hardness testing of electronics.

For more information or for applications for beam time, you can find our contact details below.

Information needed

  • Beam particle;
  • Energy:
    • 10-184 MeV for protons;
    • Maximum 90 MeV per amu for 4He, 12C, 16O or 20Ne;
    • 30 MeV per amu for 20Ne, 40Ar, 84Kr or 129Xe.
  • Flux:
    • 1E4-1E8 protons per cm2 per second (depending on field);
    • 10-10E5 ions per cm2 per second for heavy ions.
  • Field shape and size, field homogeneity;
  • Description of samples (dimensions/materials);
  • Period in which irradiation preferably takes place.

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

  • Transnational Access is available via the EU-project RADiation facility Network for the EXploration of effects for indusTry and research (RADNEXT), which is an H2020 INFRAIA-02-2020 infrastructure project with the objective of creating a network of facilities and related irradiation methodology for responding to the emerging needs of electronics component and system irradiation. 

  • Users can apply for funding in the framework of the Continuously Open Research Announcement for Investigations into the Biological Effects of Space Radiation (CORA-IBER) offered by ESA.

  • We are a member of The EURATOM financed project "Accelerator and Research reactor Infrastructures for Education and Learning (ARIEL)".

Facility Resources

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

Facility features

    • Scattering foils and a X-Y scanner magnet system provide a homogeneous beam.
    • The magnets scan the heavy-ion beam over an area of 30x30mm2 or more.
    • Protons can be scanned over an area of 100x100mm2 with a homogeneity of more than 10%, at a frequency of up to 200 Hz.
    • Flux is monitored using 4 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 whether the field uniformity is changing.
    • Fluence is measured using a scintillation detector with a known surface area.
    • A remotely controlled degrader system is used so that degrader material of different thicknesses can be inserted into the beam to vary the beam energy of the device being tested.
    • A Si detector is used to guarantee beam purity.
    • A scintillation foil (LanexTM) is used to check field homogeneity.
    • XYZ translation and rotation around the Y-axis allows fine-tuning of energy and effective LET.


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

Visiting address
Particle Therapy Research Center (PARTREC)
Zernikelaan 25
9747 AA Groningen
The Netherlands