- Number 302 |
- December 21, 2009
Recovery Act funds boost SRF collaboration between national labs
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is providing DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory with $52.7 million to test and develop superconducting radio frequency cavities, a key technology for next-generation accelerators and the future of particle physics.
In addition to expanding Fermilab’s test facilities, the laboratory is distributing a portion of the funds to upgrade existing infrastructure at Argonne National Laboratory, Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.
In October, for example, Fermilab apportioned $3 million in stimulus funds toward development and delivery of radio frequency power couplers and power distribution technology at SLAC. Couplers are essential for delivering radio frequency power to superconducting cavities. The funding will allow SLAC technicians to process 22 couplers over the next year.
The couplers will be used in a superconducting radio frequency test accelerator at Fermilab. The test accelerator, which is currently under construction, will eventually house six cryomodules, cooled vessels that contain the superconducting cavities.
Building the couplers for the prototype superconducting accelerator is a unique project for SLAC. In warm accelerators, like the linac at SLAC, waveguides transfer radio frequency waves directly from the power source to the accelerator itself. In a cold accelerator, like the one being built at Fermilab, the signals must be delivered through the cryomodule first, crossing a temperature gradient of about 300 degrees Celsius along the way. The couplers facilitate the transfer, carrying RF power into the accelerator cavity while minimizing the amount of heat introduced to the cryomodules.
SLAC’s current work for Fermilab’s prototype accelerator could lead to further coupler collaboration on future projects. SRF cavities have become the technology of choice for many proposed accelerator-based projects because of their highly efficient ability to accelerator beams of particles. Physicists expect that SRF technology has potential applications in medicine, energy and material science.
Submitted by DOE's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory