Recoil spectrometry has a double goal:
- to study the fission process, which provides information about intra-nuclear forces;
- to produce and isolate new atomic nuclei (exotic nuclei), making it possible to develop models further.
At PN1, the target sample is bombarded with a high flux of thermal neutrons to break up atomic nuclei and produce new ones. Fission reactions involving neutron capture then generally produce nuclei with excess neutrons.