A extremely anticipated particle accelerator mission at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermilab is one step nearer to turning into a actuality. This spring, amidst the pandemic, testing wrapped up at the PIP-II Injector Test Facility, or PIP2IT. The profitable end result paves the way for the building of a brand new particle accelerator that may energy record-breaking neutrino beams and drive a broad physics analysis program at Fermilab over the subsequent 50 years.

The feat was a fruits of over eight years of labor on the Proton Improvement Plan-II, or PIP-II, by a devoted group of scientists, technicians and engineers.

“I’m very proud, first and foremost, of how the entire team came together in the middle of the pandemic and achieved so much under such adverse circumstances,” mentioned Fermilab PIP-II Project Director Lia Merminga.

Two women stand side by side looking at an image of a red vessel in front of a long science experiment that takes up the rest of the photo. The woman with gray hair, on the right, and the woman with long brown hair on the left both hold the document with both hands.

In February 2020, PIP-II engineer Lidija Kokoska (left) and mission director Lia Merminga stand in the PIP-II Test Injector Facility. In spring 2021, the PIP-II group efficiently accomplished testing of the entrance finish of the new particle accelerator. Photo: Al Johnson, Fermilab

Prototyping a next-generation accelerator

Once full, PIP-II can be certainly one of the highest-energy and highest-power linear particle accelerators in the world. It is the first accelerator mission in the U.S. with important international contributions, with associate establishments in France, India, Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom.

PIP-II will present the worldwide particle physics neighborhood with a world-class scientific facility that may allow discovery-focused research using neutrinos, muons and protons. It will energy the worldwide Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, in addition to many different particle physics experiments at Fermilab that purpose to remodel our understanding of the universe. Along the way, it strengthens the connection between advances in elementary science and technological innovation.

The PIP-II accelerator can be 215 meters lengthy and propel particles to 84% the velocity of sunshine. It could have the distinctive means to ship particle beams in both a gradual stream or a pulsed mode. The machine will comprise 23 cryomodules — massive vessels that home and funky buildings generally known as superconducting cavities. These cavities will present the bulk of the particle acceleration in PIP-II.

PIP-II’s formidable specs include many technical challenges. For instance, PIP-II will characteristic 5 various kinds of superconducting cavities. Each kind must be individually prototyped and examined.

“Some of the capabilities that are embedded in the design of PIP-II are encountered by the international community for the first time, therefore intense development and technology validation is required,” Merminga mentioned. Since PIP-II is built with components from around the world, ensuring that all these systems integrate seamlessly is of paramount importance.”

PIP2IT was conceived, constructed and operated to function a proof-of-concept for the entrance finish of PIP-II. It includes the particle supply and the first part, which is roughly 30 meters lengthy.

“We wanted to build this because it is one of the most complicated parts of PIP-II,” mentioned Eduard Pozdeyev, PIP-II mission scientist and commissioning supervisor. “The main idea behind PIP2IT was to prototype the critical systems of the main accelerator.”

Two levels to success

The building and testing of PIP2IT happened in two levels. The first section, which started in 2013, targeted on constructing the room-temperature portion of the machine. This included three components: an ion supply that generates the hydrogen ions; a radio-frequency quadrupole module, or RFQ, designed and constructed by DOE’s Berkeley Lab, which focuses and accelerates the particle beam; and a transport line for carrying the beam to the superconducting part of the accelerator.

The group then carried out stage-one tests from 2016 to 2018. Testing ended with the technology of a beam that reached the purpose of two.1 million electronvolts of power. The profitable testing of all room-temperature elements was a key step essential to progress to the mission’s subsequent stage.

“The ion source puts out these H-minus ions at 30,000 electronvolts, which is comparable to the energy that old-fashioned cathode-ray tube televisions used to produce,” mentioned Fermilab engineer Curtis Baffes, the linac set up supervisor for PIP-II. “Then the RFQ takes that up to 2.1 million electronvolts — that’s a very significant energy increase.”

During the second stage, which started in 2019, the PIP2IT group put in and examined the first components of the chilly part of the machine, which makes use of superconducting radiofrequency expertise. They put in two cryomodules generally known as HWR, contributed by DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory, and SSR1, designed and constructed at Fermilab.

SSR1 additionally built-in a brand new characteristic known as the strongback technology. Typically, technicians hyperlink the cavities inside a cryomodule to at least one one other. The strongback approach connects the cavities to a typical body as a substitute. This reduces vibration and permits simpler alignment and meeting.

Meeting all objectives

Cooling down these two cryomodules with liquid helium, then demonstrating that they may speed up beams was “a big accomplishment,” Baffes mentioned. “When the two cryomodules were cooled down, powered up and validated, they were individually big milestones. Then the final milestone was putting everything together and operating it with a particle beam.”

A photo of a large red vessel that reads "Fermilab," "Fermi Research Alliance," "PIP-II" and "SSR1" sits on two large concrete blocks.

The PIP-II group cooled down and efficiently operated two cryomodules, together with this SSR1 cryomodule, to speed up particles to a beam power of 16.5 million electronvolts. Photo: Tom Nicol, Fermilab

Despite the world pandemic, the PIP2IT group managed a number of novel feats for Fermilab. That included the first acceleration of a proton beam using superconducting technology; the completion of SSR1, the first cryomodule entirely developed and built in-house; and the employment of the novel strongback technology. The Bhabha Atomic Research Center in India, a global associate of PIP-II, equipped certainly one of the SSR1 cavities, assembly the stringent specs for the part. BARC additionally supplied the radio frequency power amplifiers that powered the SSR1 cryomodule and efficiently enabled beam acceleration in PIP2IT.

The check accelerator met the group’s objectives. The machine reached the beam parameters wanted for the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility, which can generate the neutrinos for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment. PIP2IT achieved a beam power of 16.5 million electronvolts, a present of two milliamps with 550-microsecond-long pulses and a 20-Hertz repetition charge. It additionally demonstrated the seamless integration of nationwide and worldwide associate deliverables.

Bringing the many items of PIP2IT collectively and ensuring that they met all the operational necessities was no straightforward feat. It was one which took years of painstaking effort by a devoted group, Pozdeyev mentioned. “Once we demonstrated this whole complex system operated, we breathed a big sigh of relief.”

On prime of the technical challenges posed by the mission, working throughout a pandemic introduced extra obstacles. The PIP2IT group needed to briefly shut down actions and introduce all the vital precautions — akin to establishing plexiglass obstacles and establishing strict social distancing guidelines — earlier than restarting.

“We achieved all the main goals and milestones, even with all those difficulties,” mentioned Lionel Prost, the supervisor for the heat entrance finish of PIP-II. “It is gratifying that we were able to do it during those times.”

Testing novel options: beam chopping and synthetic intelligence

The PIP2IT group additionally examined a novel approach for PIP-II: bunch-by-bunch chopping.

Accelerators usually propel and ship particles in bunches — parcels that maintain trillions of particles every — which are mere nanoseconds aside. A so-called chopper system inside PIP2IT permits operators to eject bunches of particles at managed intervals. This permits the machine to ship distinctive beam patterns catered to the wants of a given experiment.

“One particularity of this chopping system is that it should be able to take any of the bunches that come out of the RFQ and be capable of kicking them to the absorber or letting them pass,” Prost mentioned. “That has been a tricky and difficult technical achievement, because this technology doesn’t exist anywhere else.”

The group additionally demonstrated the implementation of synthetic intelligence in PIP2IT. They used machine studying algorithms to align the beam trajectory inside the cryomodules. The eventual purpose is to make use of such AI/ML technology more broadly in PIP-II and past.

“The ultimate vision is an autonomous accelerator,” Merminga mentioned. “A scientist comes in, dials in the beam parameters that they want for an experiment and then the software tunes the machine to deliver them. Minimal to no human intervention.”

A brand new starting

PIP2IT accomplished its closing run in April. Now, the group is engaged on disassembling the machine. They will retailer the cryomodules and different elements till the construction of the PIP-II building is full.

A large building in a squared-off U-shape, a pool, and grass sit in the middle of a large loop of road and grass. There is another body of water and more parking to the right and a grass field and treeline to the left.

This rendering reveals the buildings that may home the new PIP-II particle accelerator at Fermilab. Construction of the cryoplant constructing, proven at the prime of this picture, is underway. The 16-story Wilson Hall is partially seen in the backside proper nook. Illustration: Fermilab

Meanwhile, the mission group will convert the cave that at present homes PIP2IT right into a PIP-II cryomodule check facility. Before set up, every of PIP-II’s 23 cryomodules must be cooled all the way down to cryogenic temperatures and examined.

PIP2IT was an vital studying expertise. The mission taught the group vital classes about the operation of the machine’s advanced elements akin to its cryomodules. It additionally demonstrated the coordination that’s essential to combine the quite a few techniques that come collectively.

“All these lessons learned are going to be used to improve, update, modify and test designs for PIP-II,” Pozdeyev mentioned. “When you start commissioning a new machine, sometimes you don’t know what’s going to happen. The test results obtained from PIP2IT significantly reduce the risk of future operations.”

While PIP2IT is now full, PIP-II’s journey continues.

“Demonstrating that the front of PIP-II can meet its requirements is certainly a great milestone for the project,” Baffes mentioned. “But it’s definitely not the end of the story.”

Fermilab is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of fundamental analysis in the bodily sciences in the United States and is working to handle a few of the most urgent challenges of our time. For extra data, please go to science.energy.gov.


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