Today at Berkeley Lab

High-Intensity Proton Accelerator Successfully Demonstrated

(l-r) Steve Virostek, Allan DeMello, Derun Li, Tianhuan Luo, John Staples, Matt Hoff, Andrew Lambert

(l-r) Steve Virostek, Allan DeMello, Derun Li, Tianhuan Luo, John Staples, Matt Hoff, Andrew Lambert

Last month, a team of engineers and physicists from Berkeley Lab and collaborators from the Institute of Modern Physics (IMP), Chinese Academy of Sciences in Lanzhou, China, demonstrated the successful operation of a high intensity continuous-wave linear particle accelerator. This linac, called a Radio Frequency Quadrupole (RFQ), reached 10 mA beam current at 2.1 MeV with an operating frequency of 162.5 MHz. This is currently the highest-intensity proton RFQ in operation. IMP plans to use the RFQ as an injector for the Chinese Accelerator Driven System project, a research-and-development effort to shorten the half-life of nuclear waste by bombarding it with high-energy protons.

The RFQ accelerator achieved 10 mA at 162.5 MHz CW operation last month in Lanzhou, China. Photo credit: Courtesy of IMP

The RFQ accelerator achieved 10 mA at 162.5 MHz CW operation last month in Lanzhou, China. Photo credit: Courtesy of IMP

“We are very proud of this collaboration,” says Division Director of the Accelerator Technology and Applied Physics Division Wim Leemans.“Judging by the feedback we received from the Chinese Academy of Sciences at Lanzhou, it is clear that the team at Berkeley lab successfully delivered a key part of the new IMP facility, exceeding performance expectations in the process.”

The RFQ accelerator was designed and engineered at Berkeley Lab and was fabricated and assembled at IMP in China. The LBNL team is composed of physicists Derun Li (PI), John Staples and Tianhuan Luo of Accelerator Technology and Applied Physics Division (ATAP), and engineers Steve Virostek (lead), Matt Hoff, Andrew Lambert and Allan DeMello from Engineering Division. Berkeley Lab has made numerous RFQ accelerators over the past 35 years, more than any other institution in the US. Current efforts include collaboration with Fermilab to build and deliver a high intensity RFQ by May 2015 for the US Long Baseline Neutrino Facility.