Berkeley Lab



Director’s Corner

A key component of ATAP’s mission is to contribute to the most demanding projects throughout the U.S. and worldwide accelerator-based research community. Among our most important contributions is a set of advanced superconducting magnets, which we are developing co-operatively with Fermilab and Brookhaven, for the High-Luminosity LHC. Meanwhile, leveraging his ATAP-based experience, John Corlett has taken on a Labwide role as deputy in the Project Management Office.

Our ability to contribute to projects is built on a strong foundation of basic research. Our Accelerator Modeling Program is particularly in the spotlight this month, simulating a promising new beam-measurement technique that had been pioneered by colleagues at Bern (and which we hope to test experimentally at BELLA Center), and hosting a workshop that brought together users and developers of the Berkeley Lab Accelerator Simulation Toolkit.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion is another priority, both for our Division and for the Laboratory. Join me in congratulating Qing Ji, honored with a Women @ The Lab award for her scientific achievements and also known for tireless work to advance DEI. We also are committed to teaching the next generation of accelerator scientists and technologists; among the latest achievements were a graduate course at UC-Berkeley taught by our Thomas Schenkel and Carl Schroeder, and a US Particle Article Accelerator School course on superconducting magnets by Soren Prestemon and Steve Gourlay.

Our most important commitment of all is to the safety and wellbeing of our workers, the community, and the environment. If you are mentoring students or supervising someone who does, please review the newly published best practices for ensuring their safety and instilling in them the Lab’s safety culture. And don’t forget that Tuesday, August 21 is this year’s all-hands Safety Day. I look forward to seeing you there for this annual hands-on investment in all the benefits of safe and organized labs, offices, and shops.

  — ATAP work on advanced quadrupole magnets praised in final design review


On June 15, 2018, a groundbreaking ceremony celebrated the start of civil engineering work for a major upgrade to the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. When complete, the High-Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC) will produce five to seven times more proton-proton collisions than the currently operating LHC, powering new discoveries about our universe.

Superconducting magnet at Fermilab Superconducting magnets like this one are integral to a high-luminosity upgrade for CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. (Photo by Reidar Hahn, Fermilab)

The U.S. research was conducted via the LHC Accelerator Research Program, or LARP, which involves four U.S. Department of Energy laboratories: Berkeley Lab, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Now the research turns into construction of the new components.

Among the components contributed by the U.S. for the HL-LHC construction are superconducting quadrupole magnets that focus the beams into collision at four points around the 27-kilometer ring. In the HL-LHC, these focusing magnets must be more powerful to focus the stream of particles much tighter than in the LHC. A collaboration including Berkeley Lab, Fermilab, and Brookhaven Lab developed the basic technology for these new magnets through LARP. The final design was completed in collaboration with CERN for application in the HL-LHC upgrade.

Berkeley Lab’s Physics Division is also involved in testing next-generation components for detector upgrades needed for the HL-LHC.

To reach the very high magnetic field of 12 tesla, these magnets will be the first use of the high-field superconducting material known as “niobium-three-tin” (Nb3Sn) in an operating accelerator, noted Soren Prestemon, head of Berkeley Lab’s BCMT. He added, “This is a unique collaboration where expertise in all areas of magnet technology is shared among the participating laboratories, resulting in a very tightly interwoven team.”

Berkeley Lab’s contributions, through its Berkeley Center for Magnet Technology (BCMT), include 102 superconducting wire cables to be used in the magnets; the insulation of the cables; and the assembly of 25 4-meter-long quadrupole magnets designated (MQXFA) that will focus the LHC’s particle beams. The U.S. in total is delivering half of the quadrupole magnets for the upgrade, while CERN is completing the other half.

The labs’ combined efforts are coordinated through a DOE Office of Science-funded U.S. HL-LHC Accelerator Upgrade Project (AUP).

“Our contributions to the upgrade project exemplify one of Berkeley Lab’s strengths: co-operation with other laboratories,” said Associate Laboratory Director James Symons. “The U.S. contribution to the accelerator upgrade has been made possible by the very successful LARP collaboration, which developed the design concept over the past decade.”

Wim Leemans, director of the Accelerator Technology and Applied Physics (ATAP) Division, added, “These magnets show how contributions to projects grow from scientific and engineering leadership.” ATAP — a partner with the Engineering Division in the BCMT, and headquarters for the high-energy-physics-oriented U.S. Magnet Development Program — performs extensive R&D at all phases, from superconducting materials to design and construction of magnets.

Fermilab scientist Giorgio Apollinari, who leads the U.S. HL-LHC AUP, said, “This is a truly major milestone for the whole U.S. accelerator community. We now look forward with much anticipation to shipping the first components to CERN and seeing them operate as part of the world’s foremost particle collider.”

To learn more…

•  Visit the LBNL News Center for an article by Glenn Roberts, Jr., about the groundbreaking, from which this article was adapted. It includes a video about the HL-LHC.
•  View a related CERN press release.
•  Read an article about the HL-LHC quadrupole magnets in the April 2018 edition of ATAP News.

Berkeley Lab Contributions Praised at HL-LHC AUP Final Design Review

The US HL-LHC Accelerator Upgrade Project (AUP), whose main task is to fabricate, test, and deliver all the Nb3Sn quadrupole magnets needed by CERN, underwent a design review last month at Fermilab. One of the two major parts of the event was the final design review (FDR) for the superconducting quadrupole magnets. Two of the seven Level-3 tasks under MQXFA Magnet Fabrication are managed by LBNL: Cable Fabrication, led by Ian Pong and Charlie Sanabria, and Structure Fabrication and Magnets Assembly, led by Soren Prestemon and Dan Cheng.

The committee was chaired by George Biallas from Jefferson Laboratory; Akira Yamamoto from KEK and CERN, Michael Lamm from Fermilab, and Berkeley Lab retiree Steve Gourlay formed the Final Design Review subcommittee for the quadrupole magnets.

In their close-out report, the committee noted “the significant achievement of achieving accelerator quality magnets with Nb3Sn.” The report further commented that “Nb3Sn magnet technology has been demonstrated to be sound” and has matured to a point where it is “ready for implementation in the HL-LHC MQXFA magnets.”

Each of three U.S. national laboratories brings its particular strengths to the challenges of building these magnets. Regarding the interaction among the three labs, the committee remarked that “The collaboration appears to use the best project management and logistical methods in the US.” Particularly encouraging to LBNL was their statement that “The Cable and Insulation task, being the most mature, appears to be complete. It serves as an example for other task managers to follow.”

  — Research team aims to measure micron-sized beams at Berkeley Lab’s BELLA Center


From a news release by Glenn Roberts, Jr., LBNL Public Affairs

Composite image illustrating charge density monitor principles Composite image illustrating charge density monitor principles

The world’s cutting-edge particle accelerators are pushing the extremes in high-brightness beams and ultrashort pulses to explore matter in new ways. To optimize their performance — and to prepare for next-generation facilities that will push these extremes further — scientists have devised a new tool that can measure how bright these beams are, even for pulses that last only femtoseconds (quadrillionths of a second) or attoseconds (quintillionths of a second). Comparing 1 attosecond to 1 second is like comparing 1 second to 31.7 billion years.

This tool can also measure beam sizes to within a few tens of nanometers (billionths of a meter) — without disrupting experiments that rely on these beams.

The new tool, dubbed a “charge density monitor,” could also provide more precise measures of fundamental physics in high-energy and high-field beam experiments, and help guide R&D efforts that seek to shrink the size and cost of particle collider and accelerator facilities while ramping up their capabilities.

To learn more and see videos of the simulations, visit the Berkeley Lab News Center.


Inaugural BLAST Workshop Brings Users, Developers Together

The Berkeley Lab Accelerator Simulation Toolkit (BLAST) — a suite of “codes,” or computer programs, that have found a wide variety of uses — were the subject of a workshop May 7-9, 2018 at LBNL.

Team photo of BLAST Workshop participants
Some of the BLAST Workshop participants in front of the venue: Shyh Wang Hall, home of Berkeley Lab’s National Energy Research Supercomputing Center (NERSC).

The workshop, organized by ATAP’s Accelerator Modeling Program, attracted 67 participants representing 25 institutions, 10 countries, 7 universities, 4 U.S. national laboratories, and 3 private-sector companies, a reflection of the diverse uses (in accelerator and plasma physics and otherwise) of the BLAST codes. The participants included both users and developers, and the three-day program combined lectures and hands-on work.

  — Labwide leverage of accelerator-based project management expertise

ATAP’S John Corlett Becomes Lab Project Management Deputy

Longtime ATAP researcher and manager John Corlett, formerly senior team leader for Berkeley Lab’s contributions to the Linac Coherent Light Source-II project, has been appointed Deputy in the Lab’s Project Management Office.

Corlett examines an LCLS-II undulator in the Lab’s magnetic measurement facility

The announcement was made by Michael Brandt, the Laboratory’s Deputy Director for Operations, and is part of a still-evolving new level of emphasis on professional project management at the Lab.

Corlett is no stranger to either the frontiers of technology or the formalisms of modern project management. Most recently, he has led Berkeley Lab contributions to Linac Coherent Light Source II, a free-electron laser being built at SLAC by a multi-institution partnership, includes a total of 54 soft- and hard-X-ray FEL undulators; the technically demanding VHF electron gun and low-energy beamline for the injector source; and low-level RF controls. His previous roles had included leadership of ATAP’s Center for Beam Physics, and of research and initiatives related to free-electron lasers, as well as a term as deputy director of the division.

“This is an exciting and expanding area,” says Corlett, adding, “The Lab has a big portfolio of projects that are very important and visible. There’s a lot to learn, but I look forward to broadening my scope to apply what I’ve learned from accelerator projects throughout all our Areas and Divisions.”

Among the ways the office can help is assisting nascent projects in setting up management structures from the very beginning that will comply with DOE 413.3b requirements and will have a good match of schedules, budgets, and expectations. Assurance is another big part of the office’s responsibilities. The office can also inform crosscutting decisions at the Lab, such as aligning the types and amounts of support services with the upcoming needs of projects.

Corlett will report to Kem Robinson, head of the Project Management Office and, in his previous role as Engineering Division director, a leader in integrating modern project management methods into Laboratory projects.

“I’d like to congratulate John on this new role,” said ATAP Director Wim Leemans. “He has spent a quarter century learning how to deliver on major technical projects, and developed a skill set and mindset that the Lab needs more than ever in the DOE 413.3b era.”

ATAP Scientists Bring Accelerator Physics to UC-Berkeley Curriculum

Berkeley Lab’s unique connection with the adjacent University of California, Berkeley is one of the ways we work to provide advanced education regarding particle accelerators and beams.

In the Spring 2018 semester, Thomas Schenkel, ATAP’s Division Deputy for Technology and head of the Fusion Science & Ion Beam Technology Program, and Carl Schroeder, a senior scientist in BELLA Center, teamed up to teach a graduate class on particle accelerators in UC Berkeley’s Nuclear Engineering Department. (Similar courses had been taught previously by other ATAP staff — most recently by David Robin and Christoph Steier.)

Thomas Schenkel Carl Schroeder Thomas Schenkel (far left) and Carl Schroeder taught NE-282, “Charged Particle Source and Beam Technology.” Eighteen students took the class for credit, with five more auditing. Right: Escorted by ATAP Outreach and Education Coordinator and accelerator physicist Ina Reichel (in red shirt), the class toured Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source to get a personal view of an accelerator-based user facility. Nuclear Engineering class touring Advanced Light Source
Click for larger version

The class covered many uses of particle accelerators and gave an introduction to accelerator physics and beam dynamics. Thomas Schenkel covered all things ion-related, from ion sources, to beam transport, to the many uses of the beams and of ion-source-related technology: everything from charged-particle cancer therapy to ion traps for fundamental physics studies. Carl Schroeder focused on electrons, covering beam dynamics (both transverse and longitudinal) and advanced accelerators, including free-electron lasers such as LCLS-II and of course the laser-plasma accelerators being developed at BELLA Center.

Another venue for accelerator education: USPAS

Another way we help provide quality education in accelerator and beam physics is through the U.S. Particle Accelerator School (USPAS). Soren Prestemon, who heads the Berkeley Center for Magnet Technology and U.S. Magnet Development Program, and ATAP retiree Stephen Gourlay taught a one-week intensive short course on superconducting magnets in June 2018. At the next USPAS session (January 2019) Steier will team up with SLAC’s James Safranek and Xiaobiao Huang for a one-week course on beam-based diagnostics.

Their efforts are part of a tradition that goes back nearly to the beginning of USPAS. Some 60 people who were, had been, or would become employees of ATAP and its predecessor organizations have taught at USPAS, for a total of nearly 100 courses and lectures. The host universities offer undergraduate and graduate credit. Many of these courses are team-taught with colleagues from other institutions, building lasting connections throughout the accelerator community.


Qing Ji Among Women @ The Lab Honorees for 2018

Qing Ji in lab

Qing Ji inspecting setup for experiment in pulsed plasma dynamics (left) and being congratulated on her award by ATAP Director Wim Leemans at the Women @ The Lab ceremony (right).

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ATAP staff scientist Qing Ji is among the 16 LBNL staff members honored in the 2018 Women @ The Lab program. A July 9 ceremony sponsored by the Lab’s Women Scientists and Engineers Council (WSEC) and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Office celebrated their achievements and contributions.

Ion-beam and ion-source physics, collaborative work (often partnering with private industry), and mastery of both experimental and computational techniques have been running themes in her wide-ranging career. She began working in ATAP as a University of California, Berkeley graduate student and returned here after a postdoctoral appointment at Harvard University.

Her recent efforts have included commissioning a new ion source at the NDCX-II facility; contributing to development of an innovative ion accelerator whose disruptive potential made it an R&D 100 finalist even at a proof-of-concept stage; and serving on the startup team for BELLA-i, which aims to bring the benefits of laser-plasma accelerators to ion acceleration. She accomplished all this while helping to lead a Labwide effort to establish our path forward in thin-film capabilities, a vital area of research infrastructure.

ATAP’s Qing Ji (front row, second from left) was among 16 honorees at the July 9 Women @ The Lab ceremony. Sharing the stage were Laboratory Director Mike Witherell (third from right) and, representing the Women Scientists & Engineers Council Executive Committee, Esther Singer (far right), ATAP’s Ina Reichel (second from right), and Romy Chakraborty, who was also an honoree (front row, fourth from left).

Working toward the Labwide priority of improving our diversity, equity, and inclusion practices has been another motif of Qing Ji’s career. She chaired the ATAP Division’s Diversity in Recruiting Task Force — a committee convened in 2016 to improve the hiring practices of the Division — and presently serves on the Physical Sciences Area Workplace Life committee, while representing ATAP on the WSEC. Three women she mentored earned their PhDs and went on to scientific careers of their own.

She has progressed into research management as well, taking over as head of the Plasma Applications Group in the Fusion Science & Ion Beam Technology Program. Thomas Schenkel, head of that program and ATAP’s Division Deputy for Technology, speaks of how she “stepped into this demanding role unflinchingly, combining amazing drive with mastery of the science and technology.”


Workshop Distills Best Practices for Safe Students

Arun Persaud mentors student Grace Woods at one of our Fusion Science and Ion Beam Technology Program’s facilities

As undergraduate summer interns join our ongoing cohort of graduate students and postdocs, let’s be ever conscious of both their immediate safety and the example we are showing.

In January, LBNL and UC-Berkeley held a joint workshop on Mentoring of Students for Safe Work Practices. The workshop brought together 20 scientific staff members and environment, health, and safety professionals from the Lab and UCB who are known as successful mentors. They shared best practices and approaches that have led to positive outcomes in both specific tactics and overall strategy to ensure student safety performance.

Three major themes emerged:
•  Engagement is key.
•  As a mentor and within peer groups, it is crucial to establish a culture of openness.
•  Safety must be integrated into all aspects of the work and research.

This investment in safety will have long-term as well as immediate benefits. Immersing students in our overall safety culture — think-plan-do behavior, working within our training and approvals, and an observant concern for each other’s best interests — will get them off to the right start on the road to becoming independent researchers and, someday, mentors to their own students.

To learn more…

•  Read an in-depth version of this article, including a number of specific best practices.
•  Refer students and new employees to this ATAP EH&S page that is oriented toward new hires.

Reminder: Physical Sciences Safety Day is Tuesday, August 21

This all-hands, all-hazards, all-day event has a mission of “Clean Labs, Clean Shops, Clean Offices,” reflecting a primary emphasis on good housekeeping and identification of hazards in common areas, offices, labs, and shops. This year the Physics and Nuclear Engineering Divisions join ATAP and Engineering in this tradition. As the day draws closer, further details and helpful information will be added to the ATAP website. Meanwhile, please mark your calendars and plan on hands-on participation in this communal investment in safe and efficient work environments.