Parceling Particle Beams

June 7, 2019

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Fermilab scientists and engineers have developed a successful prototype particle beam chopper, a critical part of a lab project, PIP-II, to upgrade the injector chain. Engineers will eventually install the device in the front end of the PIP-II accelerator
Fermilab scientists and engineers have developed a successful prototype particle beam chopper, a critical part of a lab project, PIP-II, to upgrade the injector chain. Engineers will eventually install the device in the front end of the PIP-II accelerator
Image courtesy of Reidar Hahn, Fermilab

The Science

Over the next decade, new particle physics experiments will come online at Fermilab—and they will all be hungry for particle beams. The lab is upgrading its accelerator complex to meet the heightened demand. Each experiment may have different beam requirements, including the timing of the beam delivery. A device called a chopper plays a key role in this timing. It divides the beam according to the pattern set by the experiment. Accelerator experts developed a prototype that successfully met every one of the stringent requirements placed on it.

The Impact

The nimble, precise, and hardy chopper is vital to creating a versatile particle accelerator that can ship and sort beams of various intensities to various sites. Its development is a significant leap forward in accelerator technology that opens doors in discovery science. Also, it may have uses in industry and medicine.

Summary

If you were to zoom in on a beam in Fermilab’s accelerators, you would see not a continuous flow of particles but rather a queue of discrete particle packets. Scientists call these packets “bunches.” Scientists create custom particle beams by removing select bunches from the queue. For example, experts can adjust settings to eject every third bunch, with the remaining bunches forming a particular pattern that’s optimized for an experiment. The device that carries out the high-precision task of bunch removal is the beam chopper.

When, several years ago, a team of Fermilab accelerator experts set out to design the chopper that would become part of the lab’s upgraded accelerator complex as part of the Proton Improvement Plan II project, called PIP-II, nothing even close to what they needed existed. The difficulty was that the chopper needs to remove each unneeded bunch carefully, without perturbing its neighbors. In PIP-II, the millimeter-long bunches of negative hydrogen ions (a proton with two electrons) follow each other within only six billionths of a second—not much time to cleanly remove ion bunches. Novel solutions allowed the design of chopper prototypes that meet PIP-II’s exacting specifications. The chopper tests were resoundingly successful. Further work remains, but given the promising results of these first tests, the accelerator team concluded the beam chopper will work in Fermilab’s upgraded accelerator complex.

Contact

Alexander Shemyakin
Fermilab
shemyakin@fnal.gov  

Lionel Prost
Fermilab
lprost@fnal.gov

Paul Derwent
Fermilab
derwent@fnal.gov

Funding

This work was supported by Fermi Research Alliance, LLC under contract with the Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of High Energy Physics.

Publications

A. Shemyakin, C. Baffes, J.P. Carneiro, B. Chase, A. Chen, J. Einstein-Curtis, D. Frolov, B. Hanna, V. Lebedev, L. Prost, A. Saini, G. Saewert, D. Sun, D. Sharma, and C. Richard, “Design of 162-MHz CW bunch-by-bunch chopper and prototype testing results.” 61st ICFA Advanced Beam Dynamics Workshop on High-Intensity and High-Brightness Hadron Beams, Daejon, Korea (2018).

G. Saewert, M.H. Awida, B.E. Chase, A. Chen, J. Einstein-Curtis, D. Frolov, K. Martin, H. Pfeffer, D. Wolff, S. Khole, and D. Sharma, “First performance results of the PIP2IT MEBT 200 Ohm kicker prototype.” 9th International Particle Accelerator Conference, Vancouver, BC (2018).

D. Frolov and G. Saewert, “Simultaneous switching of multiple GaN transistors in a high-speed switch.” 2018 IEEE International Power Modulator and High Voltage Conference, Jackson, WY (2018).