Department of Energy

U.S. Department of Energy and Italy’s Ministry of Education, Universities, and Research to Collaborate on Particle Accelerator Construction

December 4, 2018

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Agreement launches a multinational collaboration to build a powerful new accelerator at DOE’s Fermilab complex.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Italy’s Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR) signed an agreement to collaborate on the development and production of technical components for PIP-II, a major U.S. particle accelerator project to be located at DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois. The signing took place at the Embassy of Italy in Washington.

Italy and its National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) will provide major contributions to the construction of the 176-meter-long superconducting particle accelerator that is the centerpiece of the PIP-II (Proton Improvement Plan-II) project. The new accelerator will become the heart of the Fermilab accelerator complex and provide the proton beam to power a broad program of accelerator-based particle physics research for many decades to come. In particular, PIP-II will enable the world’s most powerful high-energy neutrino beam to power the international Fermilab-hosted Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE).

“It is with great appreciation that the Department of Energy enters into this agreement with our partners at MIUR and INFN," said DOE Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar.  “We're proud that Fermilab's PIP-II accelerator project, designed to create one of the most advanced machines for enabling discovery in the United States, is attracting major contributions from international partners for its construction.”

“The Agreement signed today by the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research and DOE is the latest example of the scope and breadth of the scientific and technological cooperation between our two countries and of the importance of international cooperation,” said Armando Varricchio, Ambassador of Italy to the United States. “This new step in our cooperation comes at a very significant time as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the U.S.-Italy Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation and renew our bilateral projects portfolio for the next three years.”

The INFN Laboratory for Accelerators and Applied Superconductivity is expected to build components for the PIP-II accelerator. Based in Segrate, Italy, the laboratory is a center of excellence on an international scale for the development of advanced particle accelerators technologies.

At the signing, representatives from both countries recognized the long tradition of collaboration between Italian scientists and Fermilab, named after Italy’s own Enrico Fermi.

"Following a long tradition of collaboration, the engagement of INFN on the construction of the PIP-II accelerator constitutes an important step in the context of unraveling neutrino properties through the ambitious DUNE project," said INFN President Fernando Ferroni.

The centerpiece of the PIP-II project will be an 800-million-electronvolt superconducting linear accelerator, which will modernize the front end of the existing Fermilab accelerator chain and provide a platform for future enhancements. The new accelerator will feature acceleration cavities made of niobium and double the beam energy of its predecessor. Such a boost will enable the Fermilab accelerator complex to achieve megawatt-scale proton beam power.

"It's exciting to think that, in just a few years, the new PIP-II accelerator will produce some of the world's most intense neutrino beams, which could give us a clearer picture of our universe's evolution," said Fermilab Director Nigel Lockyer. "This bright future is thanks in large part to our Italian partners. And since these partnerships strengthen over time, we could very well build on the relationship for future exciting projects in fundamental science."

In addition to Italy, other international partners are making significant contributions to PIP-II. They include India, the United Kingdom, and France. DOE’s Argonne and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories are also contributing key components to the project.

The partnership is one example of the increasingly global character of particle physics-related projects. The PIP-II accelerator complex will be made available to the international particle physics community and will extend the scientific discovery potential beyond that which currently can be reached.

This 40-second animation provides an overview of the PIP-II project. To learn more, visit pip2.fnal.gov.