Berkeley Lab

Center for Beam Physics: More Information

In the Center for Beam Physics, our goal is to understand the performance limitations of today’s accelerators and to provide optimal solutions to extend the energy, luminosity, and intensity frontiers in the future. We collaborate closely with other national laboratories and institutions, and with other programs within ATAP and elsewhere in LBNL, notably the Engineering Division. We have been involved from the beginning in the ongoing US-LARP (LHC Accelerator R&D) collaboration.

Although the energy frontier in operating accelerators passed to Europe after the Fermilab Tevatron gave way to the LHC, there is still a great deal of interest in energy-frontier facilities that could be built in the US. Accordingly, we are involved in R&D and design studies for future accelerators such as PIP-II, a Neutrino Factory, and a Muon Collider.

CBP staff have made significant contributions to the development concepts for a muon collider and neutrino factory, providing theoretical analysis and understanding of cooling channel performance and developing a practical tool for calculating the 6D emittance of a simulated distribution. CBP staff have leadership roles in muon-accelerator R&D in the areas of design and simulation, as well as RF systems.

Accelerator Systems and Hardware

Advanced hardware, particularly in diagnostic and control systems, is a longtime area of strength for the Center, going back to our earliest origins as the Beam Cooling Group. We provide hardware components and systems for accelerator R&D in areas that include

  • Instrumentation and diagnostics.
  • Beam cooling and feedback systems.
  • Low-impedance structures (monochromatic RF cavities, crab cavities, bellows, vacuum chamber transitions, etc.).
  • High-gradient RF cavities with the goal of exploring the limits of RF breakdown under a variety of conditions.

Accelerator “Front Ends”: RFQs and Beam Transport Systems

Another of our key responsibilities — going back to ATAP’s deep origins in the Bevalac accelerator complex — is service to ion-accelerator-based projects in the Department of Energy and elsewhere. Thanks in large part to our work on the multi-laboratory Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) team, we have helped LBNL come to be regarded as the laboratory of choice for the technically challenging front end of an ion
accelerator&#151the series of initial components that give a beam the highest-quality start. We stand ready to contribute to other national research priorities that can take advantage of these capabilities, such as a proton driver for neutrino experiments at Fermilab.

IMP-Lanzhou RFQ team
A particular area of expertise in ATAP is the radiofrequency quadrupole accelerator, or RFQ. Together with our colleagues in the Engineering Division, we have been designing and building RFQs for some 30 years. Recently we developed an RFQ of demanding specifications for the Institute of Modern Physics in Lanzhou, China. The RFQ will be a key part of a system that they are developing to transmute reactor waste into shorter-lived forms. This unit achieved 10 mA of beam current at 2.1 MeV this November in Lanzhou, making it the highest-intensity RFQ in operation.

We are also working on a similar RFQ for PIP-II, the Proton Improvement Plan at Fermilab, a centerpiece of their plans for high-energy and nuclear-physics research. This RFQ is expected to be delivered in mid-2015.


Femtosecond Timing Distribution

A area of special expertise is high-precision fiber-optic distributed timing and synchronization systems that can operate across wide areas. Though the fundamental idea had been invented elsewhere, LBNL brought unique innovations and a high degree of development to this system. Its femtoseconds-across-kilometers capability has proved especially useful for Basic Energy Sciences facilities, notably the Linac Coherent Light Source at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and LCLS-II, which is now being planned with substantial LBNL involvement.