The 6 MV tandem van-de-Graaff accelerator is located at the Hönggerberg campus of ETH Zurich. It was installed by Prof. P. Marmier in 1963 for basic research in nuclear physics.
In 1979, a research program for accelerator mass spectrometry was initiated by Prof. W. Wölfli. In 1985 this facility was fully dedicated to applied research and operated under a contract between PSI and ETH. At PSI, the facility had been integrated into Division TEM (Particles and Matter) as the Laboratory for Ion Beam Physics; at ETH the laboratory was part of the Institute of Particle Physics.
Prof. M. Suter headed the joint PSI/ETH laboratory from 1992 to 2008. Among others, he established a versatile materials science (MS) program and initiated the development of compact AMS instrumentation.
With Prof. Suter's retirement in 2008, a new organizational structure was found and the laboratory was fully integrated into the ETH. As a national and international center of competence for AMS and MS, LIP acts as a research platform of the ETH department of Physics and is linked to the Institute of Particle Physics. A curatorial board with members of the LIP partner organisations (D-ERDW, PSI, Empa, and Eawag) was founded to support LIP activities. Since 2008, Prof. H.-A. Synal is the head of the laboratory.