CERN Accelerating science

EASISchool Grenoble

Cryogenics and its applications took central stage during the EASISchool 2 that was held from the 30th of September to the 4th of October in two CEA sites, Paris-Saclay and Grenoble, France. Advancements in cryogenic technology has handed scientists and engineers the unique tools paving new ways in our study of the Universe but also finding applications that have revolutionized our way of living. Today, cryogenics finds its application in almost all modern accelerators for research in particle physics and in a broad range of domains including medical instruments, rocket and satellite science, electronics,  manufacturing and food industry among others.

EASISchool 2 offered an intensive training program for the early-stage career researchers, following last year’s EASITrain’s summer school on superconductivity. The school provided training at doctoral level for about 40 students and researchers from all over the world. This is what really happened during the EASISchool autumn school. The scientific and technical topics of the school were selected to give the students the capacity to use, develop, and design the cryogenic instruments, needed for both research and industrial applications. The school focused on open R&D topics that offer the opportunity for collaboration between the academia and the industry while offering to EASITrain early-stage researchers a broad exposure to several companies.

The first day was devoted to cryogenics in the medical instruments, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and proton-therapy, and to accelerator applications with presentations from experts on the challenges for superconducting magnets, and RF cavities. Speakers from CEA-Saclay, Varian Medical Systems, ZANON, Institut de Physique Nucléaire d’Orsay, and Research Instruments presented a broad spectrum of applications and lessons learned in the field. The importance of cryogenics for superconducting magnets not limited to particle physics was in the main focus during the second day. The increase of energy in accelerators over the past decades has led to challenging design of superconducting magnets for both accelerators and the associated detectors with LHC pushing accelerator magnet technology to its limits Superconducting magnets are under construction for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor Programme (ITER) built in Cadarache, France. In both cases cryogenics is essential to reach the desired operating temperatures and maximize the performance of these machines. Moreover, ongoing R&D on high-temperature superconductivity, pulsating heat pipe, LNG transport (Gaztransport & Technigaz), and levitation were discussed. Finally, more innovative applications of cryogenics; from quantum computation (Oxford Instruments) to deep-space missions were covered on the afternoon of the second day. The visits of the world-largest MRI magnet (11.7T) at the Neuro-science laboratory and of the accelerator and cryo-magnetism laboratories at CEA-Saclay perfectly illustrated the school lectures.

The world-largest MRI magnet in its final location at the Neurospin laboratory, CEA Paris-Saclay

In the following days in Grenoble, EASISchool 2 took a deeper look into the space and aerospace applications of cryogenics with presentations from ESA, CEA-Grenoble, CNRS, Absolut System, and Air Liquide on different technologies developed to tackle the specific challenges of the space missions. The Planck mission that offered in 2013 the most precise map of the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation, and the MeteoSat satellite were two of the examples discussed during the sessions. The discussion continued in the afternoon with presentations from Air Liquide, Thales Alenia Space, and Ariane Group. Finally, the school covered large-scale cryogenic refrigeration and liquefaction domains, and finished with an inspiring talk on the management of research and innovation at Air Liquide.

 

EASISchool 2 participants at the top of the beautiful site of the Bastille summit, Grenoble.

During the school in Grenoble, participants also had a unique chance to visit Air Liquide Advanced Technologies headquarters and take a guided tour in the space application clean room, the turbo-expanders test facility and the large helium liquefier/refrigerator/cryolines construction workshop. Moreover, participants had a chance to visit the Cryogenic Laboratories of CEA-Grenoble, France’s National High Magnetic Field laboratory and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, learning about the diverse research programs in condensed and living matter using the world's most intense X-ray source.

 

Visit to the turbo-expander test bench at Air Liquide Advanced Technologies factory

EASISchool 2 also featured satellite public events including the opening of the public travelling exhibition “The Code of the Universe”, installed for three months at the MINATEC site at Grenoble, France. The photographic exhibition opened on the 18th of September followed by a public lecture of the FCC-ee co-leader, Prof. Alain Blondel (University of Geneva) who discussed the challenges of designing the Future Circular Collider as humanity’s next adventure. The exhibition was also part of the “Grenoble Fête de la Science 2019” giving the opportunity to thousands of visitors to visit it and learn more about the technologies needed to progress in fundamental physics. Moreover, Jakub Tkaczuk, a MSCA EASITrain fellow working in CEA-Grenoble, offered guided visits for local primary and high schools. A public conference “La cryogénie au service des découvertes scientifiques” (Cryogenics for scientific discoveries) concluded this EASITrain animation at the “Grenoble Fête de la Science 2019”.

 

EASITrain animation around the exhibition “The Code of the Universe” at the French “Fête de la Science 2019”on the 10th and 12th of October 2019 at MINATEC, Grenoble. Jakub Tkaczuk (MSCA Early Stage Researcher) initiated more than 400 students from primary and high schools to discover the superconducting and cryogenic applications.

The scientific and social program of the school offered valuable insights into novel approaches in cryogenics, and valuable networking with experts from different fields. Constructive discussions during the school proved that challenges become manageable from different angles and creative solutions sometimes emerge. Stay tuned for the next EASISchool that will take place in September 2020 in Genova, Italy.

 

Livia Lapadatescu
Simon van der Meer Award
24 Mar 2019

Simon van der Meer Award

Apply now to Simon van der Meer Early Career Award in Novel Accelerators! Deadline: 27 May 2019

Chris Edmonds (University of Liverpool)
Tactile Collider
13 Mar 2018

Tactile Collider

Sensory exploration of LHC science for children with visual impairment

Alexandra Welsch (University of Liverpool)
Physics of Star Wars: Science or Fiction?
7 Dec 2017

Physics of Star Wars: Science or Fiction?

Accelerator experts bring the Force to life.

How fundamental science is changing our world

Fundamental science benefits society in many ways, from generating knowledge about how our universe works, to enabling unexpected and often transformative applications. Particle accelerators have been at the centre of many of the most advanced research infrastructures for decades. They have enabled many discoveries, such as the Higgs boson, and also led to the development of technologies that have changed our lives.

Future particle accelerators are expected to have a similarly bold impact on science and society. To showcase and the discuss the technologies that are currently being developed within the global Future Circular Collider (FCC) study, almost 1,000 researchers and industrialists from across Europe, university and high school students participated in “Particle Colliders – Accelerating Innovation”, an international science Symposium that took place in Liverpool on Friday 22nd March 2019.

The event, which was co-hosted by the University of Liverpool and CERN together with partners from the Future Circular Collider and EuroCirCol projects and the support of the EASITRain and AVA MSCA training networks, investigated the opportunities that a next generation of colliders can offer to industry, scientists and society.

In January 2019, CERN published the conceptual design report for the Future Circular Collider (FCC), a potential successor to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which aims to expand our current understanding of nature beyond the established physical model of the universe.

Professor Carsten P. Welsch, Head of the University of Liverpool Physics Department and organizer of the event, explains why fundamental research is key to advancing a knowledge-based society: “Fundamental research enables discoveries that push the boundaries of our understanding of the universe. This requires highly advanced experiments, made possible through a true global effort. Developing the design concept for future research infrastructures is not just about the science they would enable; it also requires us to drive technological progress that can benefit our everyday lives.”

The keynote talks from the Symposium were live-streamed to institutions across Europe and are now available to watch via the event website. Dozens of companies from across the UK and other EU countries showcased their latest products in an industry exhibition which followed the morning talks. The exhibition also served university students as a careers fair. They had their normal modules replaced by this unique event and found an ideal opportunity to discuss employment opportunities in different sectors. A wide range of high tech companies joined the event and provided insight into where their physics degree might take the students to next.

Image 1. Part of the outreach exhibition with the LHC interactive tunnel in the front. (Image: University of Liverpool)

More than a dozen different outreach activities, each one offered several times in parallel, were available to high school students. This included the Plasmatron, an interactive game explaining the physics behind plasma accelerators, salad bowl accelerators showing how high voltages can be generated, the augmented reality accelerator acceleratAR that turns paper cubes into components of a particle accelerator, and cryo-experiments that turned flowers into glass-like objects…which were then smashed into pieces by the children, as can be seen on the photo below.

Image 2. Part of the outreach exhibition with the LHC interactive tunnel in the front. (Image: University of Liverpool)

The entire hall was full of physics, in fact, there was even physics in the way that activities were set up as they were arranged along the spectral colours of the rainbow. A leaflet was made available to all participants and explained the link between each individual activity and ongoing accelerator science R&D.

A highlight for the hundreds of visually impaired and sighted students attending was a demonstration of the world’s first interactive ‘Tactile Collider’, which uses touch together with real sounds from the LHC to create an immersive experience. This unique experience was developed by experts from the Cockcroft Institute and has been touring the UK over the past 2 years. The event was made inclusive for VI children: in addition to tactile collider, all talks were supported by a narrator who explained the slides on display via Bluetooth headset to them. RNIB Connect Radio's Simon Pauley spoke with Dr Chris Edmonds and Professor Carsten Welsch the day before the event and you can listen to the interview here.

Finally, delegates also had the chance to play proton football and interact with visualisations of themselves in two different universes within CERN’s interactive Large Hadron Collider Tunnel, which made its UK premiere at the Symposium.

The “Particle Colliders: Accelerating Innovation” Symposium was co-hosted by the University of Liverpool and CERN, together with partners from the Future Circular Collider and EuroCirCol projects, on Friday 22 March 2019 at the ACC Liverpool. All talks and further information are available via the event website: indico.cern.ch/event/747618

Anaïs Schaeffer
Aligning the HL-LHC magnets with interferometry
4 Dec 2019

Aligning the HL-LHC magnets with interferometry

CERN surveyors have developed a procedure based on interferometry to determine the position of cold masses inside the cryostats of the future HL-LHC.

Vitaliy Goryashko (Uppsala University), Georgii Shamuilov (Uppsala University), Peter Salén (Uppsala University), David Dunning (Cockcroft Institute, STFC), Neil Thompson (Cockcroft Institute, STFC), Brian W. J. McNeil (STFC , UPA Strathclyde)
Towards single-cycle attosecond light from accelerators
21 Mar 2019

Towards single-cycle attosecond light from accelerators

New concepts build upon a strong link between linear accelerators, FELs and quantum lasers.

Daniela Antonio
How many points to direct the particle beam to collision?
20 Oct 2019

How many points to direct the particle beam to collision?

Developed specifically for the CERN Open Days, the activity aimed to explain the role of power converters in particle accelerators in a fun way.

Academia-industry collaboration drives innovation

Co-innovation workshop focused on strategic R&D programme of future collider and the benefits for industry in terms of project involvement and product commercialisation.

A new particle collider requires pushing numerous technologies beyond their state of the art. This situation provides industry with powerful test-beds for future markets that come with a high publicity factor. Novel technologies and processes can be piloted with controlled effort engagement. Well-controlled environments allow advancing technologies under conditions that extend beyond conventional product requirements. SMEs are ideal partners to bring these technologies to maturity on the quality level, generating new markets and leading to improved products.

Around 100 researchers, academics and industry delegates from the UK and other EU countries joined an academia-industry Co-Innovation workshop in Liverpool, UK on 22 March 2019. The event explored the exciting opportunities that the technology R&D around the FCC study presents for industry involvement and joint R&D programmes and was supported by the EU-funded EuroCirCol project and that MSCA training networks of EASITrain, OMA and AVA.

Image 1. Workshop participants discussing a range of key technologies. (Image: University of Liverpool)

Discussions across a number of working groups were motivated by the Future Circular Collider (FCC) study, but not limited to this study or even particle accelerators at all – the aim was to identify common ground for joint R&D across disciplinary boundaries. 

Working groups were formed to discuss specific opportunities for co-innovation and funding and included for example superconducting magnet technologies which are also two key topics for EASITrain, cryogenics, civil engineering, detector development, radiofrequency technology, energy efficiency, novel materials and material processing techniques.

Image 2. An industry exhibition took place before the workshop to showcase latest technologies. (Image: University of Liverpool)

Short talks about FCC-related areas for innovation, examples of successful technology transfer projects at CERN, as well as current funding opportunities stimulated interesting discussions amongst the participants. All of these presentations are now available via the workshop homepage.

The workshop served as an ideal platform for networking across sector boundaries and opened a number of interesting discussions. Several areas were identified that provide an excellent basis for co-innovation, including resource-efficient tunnelling, transferring optimised purpose-built machine learning soft- and hardware from particle physics to industry, and detector R&D in terms of high speed, power  and material constraints, cooling, and data maximization. Notes from all working groups are currently being finalized and will be used to follow up on agreed R&D lines with the aim to setup joint funding bids between participants.

It is anticipated that the final applications of the new technologies that are being developed for a next generation collider will stretch far beyond the applications initially targeted. The World Wide Web, originally invited to support particle physics experiments, has just celebrated its 30th anniversary and is an outstanding example of how these technologies can impact on everyday lives.

There are many other successful examples of where innovations made for fundamental research are benefiting society - most of the time in completely unforeseen ways. The FCC study illustrates this in the brand-new film “Busy bees and might magnets – From the Higgs to Honey: What's all the Buzz about Particle Accelerators?” which was produced between CERN and the University of Liverpool.

 

 

The film was launched at the event in Liverpool is now available on YouTube.

D. Gamba, A. Curcio, R. Corsini (CERN)
First experimental results from the CLEAR facility at CERN
3 Jul 2018

First experimental results from the CLEAR facility at CERN

Flexibility and versatility, together with a dynamic and experienced team of researchers, are key ingredients for the growing success of the new CLEAR facility, exploring novel accelerator concepts at CERN.

Martin Bellwood (University of Liverpool)
AVA – Training (anti)matters
6 Mar 2018

AVA – Training (anti)matters

Early stage AVA researchers benefit from established and bespoke training events

Panagiotis Charitos (CERN)
Science transcends boundaries
8 Dec 2017

Science transcends boundaries

European and Japanese collaboration in the framework of the FCC study was highlighted during Science Agora 2017

EASITrain gears up following mid-term review

Group photo taken during the MSCA EASITrain midterm review. (Image: CERN)

On the 10th and 11th of December, the MSCA EASITrain network on advanced Superconductivity and Cryogenics hold its midterm review in Brussels, Belgium. The meeting offered the opportunity to the 15 young researchers (ESRs) to present their latest scientific results and reflect on the immediate application and market potential that these technologies can languish. Moreover, the ESRs and their supervisors met with the EU project officer, Mr. Ioannis Bitsios who offered his fruitful feedback about the progress of the project, answered their questions and suggested interesting directions for the future steps of the project. 

The EASITrain project, also profits from synergies and collaborations with other EU H2020 projects. Research under EASITrain contributes to the feasibility studies of very high-field superconducting magnets, high-quality and cost-effective superconducting RF systems and on novel approaches for large-scale energy-efficient cryogenic refrigerations. These are all key technologies for more performant future particle collider while they can be utilized in many other fields; from power distribution and energy recovering to medical applications and food quality monitoring.

The event started with a comprehensive overview of the project by Dr. Johannes Gutleber, covering the key technological challenges and offering a review of the established collaboration network. In his presentation he emphasized that “one of the biggest impacts is that the effective training of early-stage researchers generates significant economic and societal benefits by increasing the lifetime salary premium for individuals, attracting global talent and increasing the competitivity of Europe’s scientific potential”. The presentation stimulated interesting discussions on the scope and impact of this network and the synergies with other H2020 projects as well as on ways to further improve the communication of results; a key component of this work.

In a series of presentations throughout the day, ESRs offered a quick overview of their work and how they efficiently use resources to tackle open technical challenges and find solutions that move the cost/performance needle of these technologies in the right direction. Their talks confirmed the innovative potential of these technologies and that much value will be gained both for the students and for the academic and industrial partners through their participation in this network.

The ESRs highlighted that every time research and development (R&D) achieves an advance in performance and a reduction in the cost, opportunities to leverage superconductivity and cryogenics into bigger markets are multiplied. The best way to manage the risk inherent to these technologies R&D development challenge is to share it via collaborative R&D profiting from established network and CERN’s long history in the development of superconductivity and cryogenics.

It was also evident that through their participation in the EASITrain network, young researchers profit from broaders networks and the chance to participate in high-profile scientific meetings. In the past twelve months, the researches were offered many opportunities to attend scientific schools and conferences around the world, thereby growing their professional network and expose to fresh ideas and learning the latest developments in the field. Stewart Leith, one of the ESRs succinctly summarized this spirit: ”It is a great experience to meet like-minded young scientists who are all pushing each other to produce the best research possible. A great way to push your career forwards and make a real impact to the world.

With the attention that EASITrain brings to superconductivity and cryogenics and appropriate technical progress through R&D, there are good reasons to envision not only a bright future for fundamental research in high-energy physics but also a “green” transformation for many industrial and domestic activities. The enabling - and often disruptive- potential of these technologies enable to deal with the most pressing problems that we face today. All this will be treacherous territory to navigate, and there will no doubt be missteps along the way. By exploring these technologies and training the future scientists and engineers to push their limits EASITrain marks a journey of creativity and exploration.

Shane Koscielniak (TRIUMF), Tor Raubenheimer (SLAC)
Highlights from IPAC ’18
28 Jun 2018

Highlights from IPAC ’18

A selection of highlights from the results presented during IPAC18

Alessandro Bertarelli (CERN)
Workshop for extreme thermal management materials
8 Dec 2017

Workshop for extreme thermal management materials

Researchers gathered in Turin, Italy to discuss current and future work.

Constantinos Astreos (University of Liverpool)
Academia-industry collaboration drives innovation
27 Mar 2019

Academia-industry collaboration drives innovation

Co-innovation workshop focused on strategic R&D programme of future collider and the benefits for industry in terms of project involvement and product commercialisation.

Advancing superconductivity for future magnets

Superconductivity has been instrumental for the realization of large particle accelerators and is a key enabling technology for a future circular proton-proton collider (FCC-hh) reaching energies of 100 TeV.

The alloy Nb-Ti is undoubtedly the most successful practical superconductor, and it has been used in all superconducting particle accelerators and detectors built to date, but the higher magnetic fields required for the High Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC) upgrade and a future circular collider (FCC) call for new materials. An enabling superconducting technology for accelerator magnets beyond 10 tesla is the niobium-tin (Nb3Sn) compound.

Nb3Sn wires suitable for producing the 11 T magnets required for the HL-LHC have been produced in industry, but the high-field magnets proposed for the FCC would require a substantial step forward in performance. In order to achieve this goal, a conductor development programme is under way at CERN.

To address the challenges of this project, a Conductor Development Workshop has bene launched by CERN. Amalia Ballarino, leader of the Superconductor and Superconducting Devices (SCD) section says: “It is the right time to create momentum for the FCC study and to bring together the current participants in our conductor development project to share recent progress and discuss future activities.”

The focus of the conductor development programme is on the development of Nb3Sn multi-filamentary wires able to meet the target non-copper critical current density (Jc) performance of 1,500 A/mm2 at 16 T and at a temperature of 4.2 K (-268.95 °C). CERN is engaged in collaborative conductor development activities with a number of industrial and academic partners to achieve these challenging goals, and the initial phase of the programme will last four years.

Presently, the conductor developed for HL-LHC reaches a performance of about 1,000–1200 A/mm2 at 16 T and 4.2 K, and a significant R&D effort is needed to increase this by 30 to 50% to meet the requirements of 16 T magnets. “The magnets for future higher energy accelerators require fundamental research on superconductors to achieve the targets in performance and cost,” says Ballarino. For the FCC magnets, thousands of tonnes of superconductor will be required. Along with an increase in performance, a more competitive cost is needed, which calls for a wire design suitable for industrial-scale production at a considerably lower cost than the state-of-the-art conductor.

Representatives from five research institutes and seven companies, from the US, Japan, Korea, Russia, China and Europe, travelled to CERN in March 2018 to attend the first Conductor Development Workshop. “Our aim is to open up a space where collaborators can discuss the current status and review different approaches to meet the target performance and cost. The meeting also serves as an invitation to potential new partners interested in joining this effort”. Two new companies attended the workshop to discuss their possible future involvement in the project, namely Luvata and Western Superconducting Technologies (WST).

The workshop started with a plenary session followed by closed meetings during which companies engaged in fruitful discussions.  “Presentations in the plenary session gave a valuable overview of progress and future directions,” observed Simon Hopkins, a CERN expert on superconductivity and scientific secretary of the workshop, “but we recognise the commercial sensitivity of some of these developments. It was essential to provide an environment in which our industrial partners were free to discuss the details openly: both their proposed technical solutions and a realistic assessment of the challenges ahead.”

First Future Circular Collider conductor development workshop (Credit: Athina Papageorgiou-Koufidou).

The early involvement of industry, and their investment in developing new technologies, is crucial for the success of the programme. One of the positive outcomes of this meeting has been that, according to Amalia Ballarino: “Thanks to their commitment to the programme, and with CERN’s support, companies are now investing in a transition to internal tin processes. It was impressive to see achievements after only one year of activity”. Several partners have produced wire with Jc performance close to or exceeding the HL-LHC specification, and all of the companies that attended the workshop had new designs to present, some of which are very innovative.

Cross-sections of prototype Nb3Sn wires developed in collaboration with CERN as part of the FCC conductor development programme.Top: optical micrographs of wires from Kiswire Advanced Technology. Bottom: electron micrographs showing a wire developed by JASTEC in collaboration with KEK. Both show the unreacted wire before the heat treatment to form the Nb3Sn compound from the niobium filaments and tin. (Credit: KAT/JASTEC. The image originally appeared in the CERN Courier, June, 2018). 

The companies already producing Nb3Sn superconducting wire for the programme are Kiswire Advanced Technology Co., Ltd. (KAT); TVEL Fuel Company supported by the Bochvar Institute (JSC VNIINM); and from Japan, Furukawa Electric Co. Ltd. and Japan Superconductor Technology Inc. (JASTEC), coordinated by the Japanese High Energy Accelerator Research Organisation, KEK. Columbus Superconductor SpA will participate in the programme for other superconducting materials.  Arrangements are now being finalised for Luvata and another manufacturer, Bruker EAS, to join the programme; and the participation of our Russian partner, TVEL, has been renewed.

Moreover, the organizers acknowledged the contribution of the academic partners, who are developing innovative approaches for the characterization of superconducting wires, as well as investigating new materials and processes that could help meet the required targets. Developments include the correlation of microstructures, compositional variations and superconducting properties in TU Wien; research into promising internal oxidation routes in the University of Geneva; the study of phase transformations at TU Bergakademie Freiberg; and conductors based on novel superconductors at CNR-SPIN.

Finally, during the two-day workshop a panel of experts reviewed the conductor programme and offered their invaluable insights during the last session of the workshop. Their recommendations centred on the scope and focus of the programme, encouraging an emphasis on novel approaches to achieve a breakthrough in performance, with the broadest possible participation of industrial partners, underpinned by close long-term partnerships with research institutions. “We fully share the panel’s ambition for developing novel approaches with our industrial partners,” agreed Hopkins. “Improving our understanding of the materials science of Nb3Sn wires is also essential for developing new and optimised processing methods, and we welcome the contribution of new research institutes”. A US research institute, the Applied Superconductivity Center based in the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (Florida State University) has also joined the programme.

 

The structure of the FCC Conductor Development Programme, showing the activities (shaded boxes) and partners. A dotted outline and italic text indicate pending participants, whose participation is currently being finalised. (Credit: CERN)

Since the workshop, partners in the conductor development programme have continued to make good progress: the latest results will be presented at the Applied Superconductivity Conference in October 2018 (Seattle, USA), and a second edition of the workshop is planned in 2019.

We are confident that this will result in a new class of high-performance Nb3Sn material suitable not only for accelerator magnets, but also for other large-scale applications such as high field NMR and laboratory solenoids or MRI scanners for medical research.

 

Top image:  High-performance Nb3Sn cables are being assembled by a Rutherford cabling machine in CERN's superconducting laboratory (Credits: CERN). 

Ruben Garcia Alia, Pablo Fernandez Martinez ‎and Maria Kastriotou (CERN)
Ultra-high energy heavy ion testing
12 Dec 2018

Ultra-high energy heavy ion testing

The ultra-high energy heavy ions at accelerators allows to test electronic components.

Panagiotis Charitos
FCC collaboration publishes its Conceptual Design Report
28 Mar 2019

FCC collaboration publishes its Conceptual Design Report

FCC study publishes a conceptual design report demonstrating the feasibility of the different options explored for post-LHC circular colliders.

Rama Calaga (CERN)
World’s first crabbing of a proton beam
26 Jun 2018

World’s first crabbing of a proton beam

The first test of the HL-LHC crab cavities to rotate a beam of protons was performed last month at CERN.