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High power superconducting linacs


A lot of new particle accelerators are planned in the next decade, all aiming at unprecedented performance as far as beam intensity, beam stability and beam reliability are concerned. Among others, linear accelerators (linacs) projects able to produce high-power hadron beams (up to several Mega-Watts) are especially numerous.

The interest for such high-power linac project is increasing because they benefit from a clear technological synergy (several components are very similar from a machine to another), together with a real scientific synergy. As a matter of fact, high-power hadron beams are requested not only for the upgrade of existing large accelerator complex (e.g. CERN) but also to produce, usually by spallation, intense flux of secondary particles that are of high interest for several domains of fundamental and applied science :

  • radioactive ions for nuclear physics,
  • neutrons for condensed matter physics, material physics, or for the transmutation of high-level nuclear wastes,
  • muons, neutrinos... for particle physics.

Main challenges and projects

These high-power hadron beams have usually the following characteristics : energy in the GeV range, high peak current and high duty cycle. Such beams, which were very difficult to produce in the past, can nowadays be envisaged thanks to the recent development of the superconducting RF technology that brings the following crucial advantages :

  • extremely low RF dissipations, leading to optimal energy efficiency and reasonable operation costs,
  • capability to operate with very high duty cycle (up to 100%) while ensuring high accelerating gradients,
  • high potential for reliability (cryo-technology), for flexibility (wide tuning range) and for safety (large beam apertures).

To be able to transport and use a multi-MW beam in a safe way and without activating too much the structures, these machines need to operate with an excellent beam transmission, with a beam loss rate of less than 10-6 typically. The associated challenges are numerous and complex and require a lot of dedicated R&D activities on topics like : beam space charge management, in particular at low energy, and minimisation of the produced halo ; design of RF cavities able to accelerate high-power beams in CW operation ; design of new generation beam diagnostics ; design and operation of high-power RF elements ; design of multi-MW targets ; etc..

PNG - 186.5 kb

Several projects of such high-power machines are currently planned or even under construction, as shown in the opposite figure. The Accelerator Department of IPN Orsay is especially involved as a major partner in the following projects :

  • SPIRAL-2 (Caen, France) - "Système de Production d’Ions Radioactifs en Ligne de 2ème génération",
  • ESS (Lund, Sweden) - "European Spallation Source",
  • MYRRHA (Mol, Belgium) - "Multi-purpose hYbrid Research Reactor for High-tech Applications",
  • but also in the IPHI, SPL and EURISOL projects.

(Click on the projects’ logo for more detailed information)


A few IPNO related publications...

High Power Proton/Deuteron Accelerators, Proc. SRF 2013

High power hadron accelerators : applications in support of nuclear energy, Proc. ICENES 2011

High power CW superconducting liancs for EURISOL and XADS, Proc. LINAC 2004

High intensity proton SC linac using spoke cavities, Proc. EPAC 2002

Contacts : Jean-Luc BIARROTTE, Sébastien BOUSSON



Institut de Physique Nucléaire Orsay - 15 rue Georges CLEMENCEAU - 91406 ORSAY (FRANCE)
UMR 8608 - CNRS/IN2P3

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