CERN Accelerating science

P8 towards HL-LHC thanks to a new absorber

The first definitive components of the High-Luminosity LHC, an absorber and a new concept of alignment plate (WePlatE) designed to protect the machine, installed in the LHC. (Image: CERN)

The High-Luminosity upgrade of the LHC (HL-LHC) will extend the discovery potential of the world’s largest accelerator. The upgrade aims to increase its luminosity (rate of collisions) by a factor of five beyond the original design and the integrated luminosity (total collisions created) by a factor of ten. With this upgrade, a major fraction of the LHCb's sub-detectors will be replaced or upgraded during Long Shutdown 2 (LS2).

More demanding data-taking conditions will rely on most recent technological developments of the new detector parts coping with an increase of luminosity from 4x10³²cm¯²s¯¹ to 2x10³³cm¯²s¯¹, implying an increase in the rate of inelastic collisions at the heart of the detector. These collisions will produce a shower of forward particles, namely of neutrals (mostly neutrons and photons) and charged particles (mostly pions and protons), that will leave the interaction point in both directions towards the machine, creating a non-negligible energy deposition in the region. Without the use of an absorber, the recombination dipoles (D2) will see an energy deposition that could bring them above their safety thresholds risking quenching. 

The new studies to protect the D2 magnets began with an analysis of the run 3 luminosity conditions by the CERN FLUKA team and of the Target Absorber Neutral B (TANB) requirements, which are shaped by the existing TANA and TANC absorbers situated in Point 1 and Point 5. The Collider Experiment Interface, the vacuum and the installation and integration teams analysed the requirements and found that there was insufficient space between the D2 and the recombination chamber. Thanks to results from the Radiation Protection team and also collaboration between numerous other teams, an optimal solution was found that allowed a major simplification in its design.

The final design of the TANB is a passive absorber made of high-density tungsten produced by powder metallurgy which made it possible to shorten the length to fit in the available space. It clamps to two NEG coated beam pipes and is fully compatible with the high-luminosity vacuum requirements allowing baking at 250° and a heat-up rate of 50°/h. 

Another constraint is the proximity to active objects such as the collimators and the recombination dipoles and the exposure to personnel making any routine operation costly. In the case of the TANB this is mainly needed for its alignment. The Collider Experiment Interface team developed a new concept of alignment plate (WePlatE) which allows 6 DOF’s with all adjustment knobs located at the accessible aisle side. The first prototype of the WePlatE was an essential step to demonstrate the validity of the design and of the technological solutions. It was tested by the CERN alignment group in August 2018 at CERN and successfully reached the required precision and repeatability targets. 

Four units of the WePlatE have been installed supporting weight in a range from 30 to 600 kg and will reduce the dose to the operators in the future. The newly installed TANB absorbers (1 per side) will minimise the heat load on the D2 magnets to values well below the quench level and prepare Point 8 to the High Luminosity era, possibly also compatible with future LHCb upgrades. It is the first definitive component of the High-Luminosity LHC installed in the machine and a prime example of excellent collaborations across different groups and departments!

Editorial Team
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Education for innovation in Hilumi and FCC

HiLumi and FCC organised their first innovation course in collaboration with IdeaSquare and CERN Knowledge Transfer (KT) on 31 January and 1 February, 2018. Twenty students and young professionals from HiLumi and FCC interested in innovation and entrepreneurship participated in the two-day course and will continue working on their ideas for a few weeks. The purpose of the induction session was twofold: to let the participants explore potential ways to apply their knowledge and skills outside the CERN context, and to familiarize them with established innovation practices. The aim was to inspire students/young professionals to think “outside the box” and teach them basic skills on how to think like an innovator and an entrepreneur thus offering them new skills and competences, which they may find useful later on in their careers. “It has been a real pleasure to host the course at IdeaSquare”, says Markus Nordberg who is a recognised expert in open innovation and manages other innovation courses such as the Challenge Based Innovation CBI.

During the two days, the participants gained insight into how to deliver innovation, assess knowledge transfer opportunities and identify different applications of CERN technologies from presentations given by the IdeaSquare team and distinguished visiting presenters. Harri Toivonen from Aalto University introduced the participants to the design thinking philosophy, opening minds on how to approach challenges with no clear solution. Giovanni Anelli from KT demonstrated how CERN technologies have turned into applications that benefit society in sectors such as medicine, safety and environment. He also put a focus on the innovation opportunities offered by KT. Philipp Topic from Vienna University of Economics and Business introduced Technological Competence Leveraging, a systematic, proactive and crowdsourcing-based method to identify new application fields for technologies. Marcello Losasso presented the QUACO project as a case study of a Pre-Commercial Procurement initiative, a mechanism that boosts innovation and attracts potential industrial partners. Creating a network of like-minded people is also a key to success in innovation and this is why Laure Esteveny presented the CERN Alumni activities and IdeaSquare and KT student programs were presented to open up ideas on how to reach to peers.

The participants were encouraged to bring their own innovation topics to the course, and if so had the chance to display them in an elevator pitch on both days. Using the knowledge and tools introduced during the course, the participants then worked in four groups, developing and refining their ideas. During the group sessions, some ideas were dropped, and the groups  developed detailed presentations for 10 ideas they most believed in, to defend their views. At the end of the second day, three ideas were subsequently voted as most promising and three groups were put in place to further refine and work on them. At the time of publication of this article each group is developing their ideas with expert support.

The results will be presented in an award ceremony to an invited audience on 21 March. “It has been extremely impressive how the participants have used the information received during the course”, says Isabel Bejar Alonso, organizer of the course. “From the first presentation to the last there has been a complete revolution moving from vague ideas to credible proposals.” This innovation course has demonstrated how important it is for young researchers to see that entrepreneurship can be an option for their careers. Even more so as they realised that there is no real frontier between industrial innovation and the work they do every day.


Header image: The participants refined their ideas during group workshops in the HiLumi FCC Innovation course at IdeaSquare (photo by Isabel Bejar Alonso, CERN)  

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