CERN Accelerating science

Taking accelerators on board: Exploring unchartered waters with ARIES

Emission control has turned into the most important driving force for developments in the ship industry in line with the sustainable development goals that the UN set for the 21st century.  In the past, extensive R&D effort has been allocated to control harmful emissions from ships given that approximately 90% of all goods traded worldwide travel on commercial ships that mainly burn low-quality heavy oil. ARIES aims at extending the accelerator reach to societal applications, and it brought together regulating authorities, shipping companies and industries, universities and research laboratories to explore a new avenue to reduce exhaust gas emissions from maritime trade.

The aim is to develop new accelerator-based gas treatment technologies laying at the border between physics and chemistry, which are applicable and practical for ship operators while they guarantee a high level of safety and reliability.

The combustion of gases inside the diesel engines emits harmful gasses in the atmosphere, a fact that raises concerns especially close to highly populated areas and closed seas. As a result, restrictive regulations apply in many areas as is the case of the Baltic sea and soon in many of the US coastal areas. Moreover, pollutant gases can often spread within 400 km from the coastline, influencing the air quality within several hundreds of kilometers. To cope with continuously increasing environmental demands, gas emissions from existing ships’ engines have to be reduced and a new world-wide regulations will be implemented as of 2021. Combination of cleaner fuels, engine modifications, add-on retrofits and other measures can be used to reduce exhaust gases emissions.

The main harmful gasses emitted from commercial ships are nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur oxides (SOx). Primary methods aim at reducing the formation of these gases by using costly low-sulphur fuels and improving the engine design and maintenance, or by adopting proper retrofitting devices, such as scrubbers and selective catalytic reactors. These technologies allow a reliable reduction of SO2 or of NOx, while no system allows eliminating both, and all suffer the drawbacks of high cost, large footprints, an impact in the efficiency of the engine and additional fuel consumption.

To reduce further possible emissions, we need to develop innovative approaches for treating the exhaust gases after the engine. Accelerators could produce beams of electrons at an energy of 300-500 keV that would interact with the emission gases and induce molecular excitation, ionization and dissociation breaking the larger NOx and SOx molecules making easier the suppression of the remaining gases in a small “scrubber” placed after the accelerator in the exhaust pipe, which washes out using seawater the polluting molecules.

The electron-beam treatment technology was first developed in Japan in the 1970s and was recently revived in Poland to reduce carbon emissions from its power plants. The developments took place at the Warsaw Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology (INCT), which is a member of ARIES and holds a patent on this technology. As 90% of electricity in Poland is produced from coal combustion and hence reducing gases that contribute to air pollution has been a key issue. A full-scale electron beam accelerator facility allowed to treat flue gases from coal-driven power plants, leading to a significant reduction in emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The same technique could also help us reduce emission gases from ships.

In this process, the gases are cooled to between 70°C and 90°C with a spray of water and then diverted into a reaction chamber. There the wet gases are exposed to low energy electron radiation from an accelerator, not much different apart the higher energy from the tubes found in old television sets. Ammonia is then added to neutralize the SO2 and NOx, causing them to change chemical form and become solid aerosols. A high efficiency machine gathers and filters these sticky particles, converting them into high-quality fertilizer with the remaining “clean” gases leaving through the chimney. Ship exhausts are different from power plant fumes, but an experiment at INCT treated with an electron beam fumes with the same composition as the exhausts of a ship engine. The results indicate that similar high-level cleaning efficiencies can be reached.  

During the workshop, participants shared their experience from engine designing, gave feedback from research conducted on test facilities, and discussed results from measurements on ships in operation. Moreover, they discussed how one could achieve in an economical fashion the required emission levels that could meet new international regulations. There was a wide consensus that this technology is very promising, but it still requires testing first on real ship engines onshore and later in a marine environment aboard a ship. Additional  R&D is required to fit the accelerator in the challenging environment of an engine room (or of a ship funnel!) as well as an economic analysis to highlight the financial advantages with respect to other solutions.

A key challenge for engineer designers is to ensure the highest level of safety and reliability of the equipment installed on ships, while taking into consideration the different types of applications on vessels operating around the world and emission control regulations between different regions.

All in all, this novel technique has the potential to reduce the marine diesel exhaust gas; a challenge that becomes particularly topical given the increasing need for transportation of goods and the tighter rules towards a greener environment. The meeting exemplified that the design and advancement of accelerators goes beyond fundamental physics and genuinely contributes to the goals of sustainable developments for the 21st century.

 

You can find more information about the meeting and a full list of the participants in the Indico page of the event.

 
Alexandra Welsch (University of Liverpool)
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Maurizio Vretenar (CERN)
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Martin Bellwood (University of Liverpool)
AVA – Training (anti)matters
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Workshop for extreme thermal management materials

 

The ARIES project organised its first workshop for Work Package 17 (WP17) “PowerMat” in Turin, Italy over 27-28 October 2017. The event hosted 30 participants from several Laboratories, Universities, and small companies.

The main objective of WP17 is the development and investigation (through both simulations and experiments) of novel materials for extreme thermal management related to particle accelerators and other challenging applications.

Many lively discussions and fruitful exchanges took place during the five sessions of the workshop. Each session was dedicated to a specific task of WP17, with special input regarding ARIES WP14 “Promoting Innovation”, which operates synergistically with PowerMat to provide material specimens and samples to be characterized and tested.

The main goal of the workshop was the presentation and discussion of results related to the latest developments of novel and advanced materials based on carbon and diamond. Besides excellent thermomechanical properties, these materials are required to resist the long-term effects of radiation, in the harsh accelerator environment. In this respect, material characterization campaigns are performed both on pristine and irradiated samples.

The first session of talks considered the investigation of metal carbide-reinforced graphite and fibre-reinforced graphite, with specific regard to their thermomechanical, microstructural and ultra-high vacuum characteristics. These materials are used in Collimators and Beam Intercepting Devices (BID), and must be optimized for the challenges of future high-energy particle accelerators.

The workshop also dedicated talks to the discussion of dynamic tests of advanced materials, with specific attention to experiments performed at the CERN HiRadMat facility. Several experiments were presented, including preliminary results from the MultiMat experiment, which took place in October 2017. The reusable, rotatable barrel hosted in the test bench allowed the testing of 18 different materials, ranging from very low-density carbon foams to high-density tungsten alloy, and three thin-film coatings under the most intense and energetic proton pulses available from CERN Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS).

The target stations were equipped with strain gauges, pressure sensors and thermal probes in order to acquire the dynamic response of the materials and benchmark the numerical results of the simulations. The experiment was concluded with more than 2·1015 protons delivered on target. All the carbon-based materials survived the maximum intensities, with energy densities exceeding those expected in the HL-LHC. The online instrumentations worked very reliably, providing a wealth of data for post-processing. The first analyses indicate a good agreement with the numerical and analytical predictions.

Workshop attendees also reviewed recent results of radiation damage studies from GSI, CERN and Polimi; and to agree on a plan for future simulations and experiments at various facilities in Europe and USA.


Importantly, PowerMat aims to explore the possible societal applications of novel materials in challenging domains, such as advanced engineering, medical imaging, quantum computing, energy efficiency, aerospace, and thermal management. In this context, researchers discussed the development of diamond-reinforced composites for luminescence screens, as well as optimization paths and experiments.


The visit of the DYNLab in Politecnico of Turin (Image: M. Scapin/Polito)

Attendees were also able to visit Polito’s DYNLab, a comprehensive facility for material testing in quasi-static and dynamic conditions, which will characterize materials for PowerMat. In addition, the programme featured a visit to Polito’s Additive Manufacturing facilities and invited talks on several inspiring topics, including Advanced Joining Technologies.

The presentations and interaction during these two days allowed participants to plan a large number of future activities as well as strengthen or launch new collaborations. Partners will report on the progress of their activities at the next WP17 meeting, to be held at the ARIES 2018 Annual Meeting in Riga, Latvia.

Special thanks go to Lorenzo Peroni and Martina Scapin at Polito, for their organisation of an inspiring venue with a unique context and atmosphere.

***

Header image: Participants of the Workshop of ARIES WP17 PowerMat, 27-28th November 2017, Politecnico of Turin, Italy (Image: M. Scapin/Polito)

Marco Zanetti (INFN & Univ. Padua), Frank Zimmermann (CERN)
Workshop shines Light on Photon-Beam Interactions
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Workshop shines Light on Photon-Beam Interactions

The ARIES Photon Beams 2017 Workshop was held in Padua, Italy in late November 2017.

Massimo Sorbi (CERN, INFN), Marco Statera (INFN) and Ezio Todesco (CERN)
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Several authors
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HiRadMat: testing materials under high radiation

What happens to materials when they are subjected to high levels of radiation? How do superconducting magnets behave when they encounter the high-intensity proton beams at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)? How much damage can radiation do to a device? HiRadMat, the radiation testing facility at CERN, helps experimenters answer these questions and more.

Radiation affects the mechanical properties of solid materials often causing significant damage. Metal objects, for example, become harder and more brittle, raising the risk of operation problems and malfunctions. As such, materials and devices often used under harsh radiation conditions —such as at nuclear reactors or high-energy physics experiments— must be tested in a safe and controlled environment.

HiRadMat, an acronym for High Radiation to Materials, provides exactly this environment to researchers. At the facility, they can expose different materials to high-intensity pulsed proton and ion beams to calculate the damage limits of detectors and electronics of the LHC, as well as evaluate different options for radioactive targets and measure the performance of radiation resistant devices. Since its creation in 2010, HiRadMat has remained a unique facility of high demand, providing a wide range of high radiation testing possibilities.

In the spirit of international collaboration and open exchange of ideas, HiRadMat is available to experimenters from around the globe for a range of scientific purposes. It is part of the ARIES project, which aims to develop European particle accelerator infrastructures and also provides support for researchers to travel to and use the facility.

An experimental set-up in HiRadMat Tunnel (Image: CERN)

HiRadMat uses a proton beam extracted directly from the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) at 440 GeV, providing a maximum pulsed energy of 3.4 MJ, a comparable extraction to that of the LHC beam. The facility is situated in the West Area and takes beam extracted directly from the TI2 injection line to the LHC [1,2].  It provides pulsed proton beams from 1 bunch per pulse to 288 bunches per pulse, at a maximum energy of 1.2x1011 protons per bunch (equivalent ion beams can also be provided).

The facility contains three experimental tables. A Beam Television (BTV) has been installed upstream of experimental positions and provides all users with reliable, consistent beam spot information, i.e. beam position, beam stability and beam spot size.  Different optics are available depending on the positioning of the experiments, but a general 1σ r.m.s. beam radius of 0.5 – 2 mm is offered, with others available upon request.  Further details on the beam operation of HiRadMat can be found in the literature by Fabich et al. [3]

Since HiRadMat took its first proton beam in 2012, it has continued to provide irradiation testing to a variety of projects, including studies into novel materials for collimators, beam monitors and targets. It has continued to develop as a facility, providing improved logistics to experiments and related electronics equipment to ensure smooth operation throughout all projects. HiRadMat also offers an additional facility providing improved shielding for electronics required for the experiments, a surface laboratory and control centre.

If HiRadMat sounds like the perfect facility to test your materials, devices and products, please contact the HiRadMat team directly.

 

[1]  I. Efthymiopoulos et al. “HiRadMat:  A New Irradiation Facility for Material Testing at CERN”, Proceedings IPAC, 2011: 1665-1667.

[2]  C. Hessler et al. “Beam Line Design for the CERN HiRadMat Test Facility”, Proceedings PAC, 2009: 3796-3798.

[3]  Fabich et al. “First Year of Operations in the HiRadMat Irradiation Facility at CERN”, Proceedings IPAC, 2013: 3415-3417.

Alessandro Bertarelli (CERN)
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Workshop for extreme thermal management materials

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Ubaldo Iriso (ALBA-CELLS)
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Athena Papageorgiou Koufidou & Fiona J. Harden (CERN)
HiRadMat: testing materials under high radiation
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HiRadMat: testing materials under high radiation

The CERN test facility offers high irradiation testing to researchers.

Workshop shines Light on Photon-Beam Interactions

Over 27-28 November 2017, 41 experts in gamma-gamma colliders, Compton sources, and Gamma factories came together for the 2017 Photon Beams Workshop, held at the University of Padua’s Botanical Garden.

The event makes the first topical workshop of the ARIES project’s Task 6.6 “Far Future Concepts & Feasibility”, which aims to study the options and practicality of next and future-generation particle accelerators. The technical agenda included presentations on accelerator design, beam commissioning, laser technology, Free Electron Lasers (FELs), experimental programmes, and fundamental physics questions, with reports on studies and experiences from across the globe.

The first big theme of the workshop was Compton sources. Pierre Favier (LAL Orsay) kicked off the event with a comprehensive overview of warm and SC linac-based and ring-based Compton backscattering sources from around the world, covering almost 10 orders of magnitude in photon rates, and photon energies between a few 10s of keV and a few GeV. At present, the ThomX and ELI-NP facilities are under construction in France and Romania, respectively.

Alessandro Variola, Cristina Vaccarezza, and Antonio Falone (INFN Frascati) reported in greater detail on the design and status of ELI-NP, including its remarkable 32-pass laser-pulse recirculator and its luminosity monitor.

Secondly, speakers focused on the theme of photon colliders: recalling the history of gamma-gamma colliders, Valery Telnov (BINP Novosibirsk) discussed the gamma-gamma collider options for linear colliders, highlighting the removal of the spent electron beam as one of the key problems, mitigated by crab crossing. Following this, Telnov proposed the extension the European XFEL at DESY, Hamburg to a photon collider using the spent beams.

Illya Drebot (INFN) presented machine designs and Monte-Carlo simulations for an even lower-energy (MeV class) Gamma-Gamma Collider. Physics motivations for such a collider were discussed by Edoardo Milotti (University of Trieste), who also pointed out the existence of narrow resonances with extremely high cross-section.

Chuang Zhang (IHEP) set out the plan for a 200x200 MeV gamma-gamma collider based on the BEPC injector, in Beijing. The IHEP photon collider could be operational already in four years from now.

Considering secondary/tertiary beam generation, Luca Serafini (INFN Milano) discussed collisions between photons and massive high-energy particles, and made a proposal to use the CERN SPS, LHC or FCC as a gamma source.

Going back up in energy, Frank Zimmermann (CERN) reviewed the conversion of the recirculating linac of the LHeC into a gamma-gamma Higgs Factory, SAPPHiRE. Recent innovations from Atoosa Meseck (HZB) include the occasional bypassing of one linac section, using fast kicker magnets, to avoid the need to a counter-rotating beam, and the use of a low-energy FELs for generating 350 nm photons at 20k kHz repetition rate.

For photon collisions at even higher energy, Eduardo Marin (CERN) presented the photon collider options and associated simulation results for the CLIC linear collider project. 

On the third theme of the workshop, two full workshop sessions were devoted to discussing the Gamma Factory.  Indeed, Witek Krasny (LPNHE Paris) presented an innovative proposal to convert the LHC into an extremely bright source of Gamma rays, with energies of up to 400 MeV, by exploiting the interaction of laser pulses and partially stripped ion beams. In addition, Krasny pointed out that a low-energy photon collider providing would be a powerful tool for axion searches in a promising range of energy.

Reyes Alemany (CERN) presented the experimental programme at the CERN SPS and LHC, which defines the path towards realizing the Gamma Factory.

Considering FELs, Vittoria Petrillo (University of Milano) analysed their use and possible advantages over standard lasers for the Gamma Factory, with particular reference to the impact of the characteristics of FELs on PSI excitation.

Luca Serafini then delivered two “messages in the bottle” for the Gamma Factory, concerning the loss in efficiency due to the laser and ion wave fronts and due to their respective energy spread.

Representing the atomic physics community, Dima Budker (University of Mainz) discussed the basics of the electronic excitation and decay of partially stripped heavy ions, referring to his and Max Zolotorev‘s study 20 years earlier.

Key elements for all three types of facility are lasers and high-finesse optical cavities, such as Fabry-Perot resonators, or FELs.

Discussing the state-of-the-art in Fabry-Perot resonators, Fabian Zomer (LAL) presented activities at the KEK ATF in Japan, with reference to Compton-based positron source for linear colliders. Indeed, LAL’s next project, ThomX , will use a Fabry-Perot resonator with 100-400 kW power level from the start.

Antoine Courjaud (Amplitude Systems) presented the state of the art in ultrafast lasers for accelerators, touching on custom solutions for science, burst laser setups, and cryogenic amplifiers. Commercial lasers providing pulse energies of 1 J at 100 Hz will be available in 2-3 years from now. Similarly, Igor Pogorelsky (BNL) expanded on CO2 lasers, detailing the construction of a 25 TW laser with chirped pulse amplification at the BNL ATF. The CO2 laser system will eventually reach 100 TW with 10 J per pulse and 100 fs pulse duration, thanks to nonlinear compression, self-chirping and self-focusing.

All participants unanimously voted for the repetition of such a topical workshop in Padua in the future.

Marco Zanetti (INFN & Univ. Padua), Frank Zimmermann (CERN)
Workshop shines Light on Photon-Beam Interactions
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Workshop shines Light on Photon-Beam Interactions

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Outi Heloma (CERN), Isabel Bejar Alonso (CERN)
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