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The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
  • 2016-12-15 15:05:20
  • Article ID: 666605

Scientists Develop a Path Toward Improved High-Energy Accelerators

  • Credit: Elle Starkman/PPPL Office of Communications

    Physicist Hong Qin

Physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), in collaboration with researchers in South Korea and Germany, have developed a theoretical framework for improving the stability and intensity of particle accelerator beams. Scientists use the high-energy beams, which must be stable and intense to work effectively, to unlock the ultimate structure of matter. Physicians use medical accelerators to produce beams that can zap cancer cells.

“When physicists design the next-generation of accelerators, they could use this theory to create the most optimized focused beams,” said PPPL physicist Hong Qin. Dr. Qin, Executive Dean of the School of Nuclear Science and Technology at the University of Science and Technology of China, is a co-author of the research described in the November issue of Physical Review Letters.

Zipping through tunnels or tubes

Accelerator beams consist of billions of charged particles that zip through tunnels or tubes before colliding with their targets. In scientific experiments, these beams strike their targets with an enormous energy density and generate subatomic particles that have not been seen since the early universe. The long-sought Higgs Boson, the particle that carries the field that gives mass to some fundamental particles, was discovered in this way in the Large Hadron Collider in Europe, the world’s largest and most powerful accelerator.

In order for a beam to maintain its intensity, the particles in the beam must remain close together as they zip through the beamline. However, the beam loses intensity as the mutual repulsion of particles and imperfections of the accelerator degrade the beam. To minimize such degradation and losses, the walls of large accelerators are lined with high precision magnets to control their motion.

The new research advances PPPL’s theoretical work over the past seven years to improve the stability of beam particles. The theory strongly couples the vertical and horizontal motions of the particles — in contrast to standard theory that treats the different motions as independent of each other. Results of the theory “provide important new theoretical tools for the detailed design and analysis of high-intensity beam manipulations,” according to the paper.

Lead author of the work is Moses Chung, a doctoral graduate of the Princeton Program in Plasma Physics who is now with the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea. Co-authors include the late Ronald Davidson, a former director of PPPL and professor of astrophysical sciences at Princeton University, and Lars Groening and Chen Xiao of the Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Germany. Support for this work comes from the National Research Foundation of Korea and the DOE Office of Science.

Altering a long-standing model

The paper addresses a 1959 work by two Russian physicists that formed the basis for analysis of the properties of high-intensity beams for the past several decades. This work considers the particle motions to be uncoupled. Chung and his co-authors modify the Russian model — called the Kapchinskij-Vladimirskij distribution — to include all coupling forces and other elements that can make the beams more stable.

The resulting theoretical tool, which generalized the Russian model, agreed well with simulation results for the Emittance Transfer Experiment at the Helmholtz Centre in Germany, which illustrated a new beam manipulation technology for future accelerators. More intense beams could enable the discovery of new subatomic particles, said Qin.

PPPL, on Princeton University's Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J., is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy. The Laboratory is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the largest single supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

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Experiment Provides Deeper Look into the Nature of Neutrinos

The first glimpse of data from the full array of a deeply chilled particle detector operating beneath a mountain in Italy sets the most precise limits yet on where scientists might find a theorized process to help explain why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe.

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Cool Roofs Have Water Saving Benefits Too

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The Blob That Ate the Tokamak: Physicists Gain Understanding of How Bubbles at the Edge of Plasmas Can Drain Heat and Reduce Fusion Reaction Efficiency

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A Berkeley Lab-led research team has discovered a surprising set of chemical reactions involving magnesium that degrade battery performance even before the battery can be charged up. The findings could steer the design of next-gen batteries.


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Four Argonne Researchers Appointed Fellows of Scientific Societies

A select group of scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory has been honored as fellows of the American Physical Society and the Electrochemical Society. Physicists Kawtar Hafidi and Michael Carpenter have been appointed as American Physical Society fellows and Materials Scientist Khalil Amine and Chemist Chris Johnson have been elected as Electrochemical Society fellows.

Berkeley Lab and Hydro-Quebec Announce Partnership for Transportation Electrification and Energy Storage

Hydro-Quebec and the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have agreed to explore collaborations toward the research and development of manufacturing and scale-up technology to advance transportation electrification and energy storage.

Two ORNL-Led Research Teams Receive $10.5 Million to Advance Quantum Computing for Scientific Applications

DOE's Office of Science has awarded two research teams, each headed by a member of ORNL's Quantum Information Science Group, more than $10 million over 5 years to both assess the feasibility of quantum architectures in addressing big science problems and to develop algorithms capable of harnessing the massive power predicted of quantum computing systems. The two projects are intended to work in concert to ensure synergy across DOE's quantum computing research spectrum and maximize mutual benefits.

Department of Energy Awards Flow Into Argonne

DOE Secretary Rick Perry awarded Argonne with nearly $4.7 million in projects as part of the DOE's Office of Technology Transition's Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF) in September.

NIH Awards $6.5 Million to Berkeley Lab for Augmenting Structural Biology Research Experience

The NIH has awarded $6.5 million to Berkeley Lab to integrate existing synchrotron structural biology resources to better serve researchers. The grant will establish a center based at the Lab's Advanced Light Source (ALS) called ALS-ENABLE that will guide users through the most appropriate routes for answering their specific biological questions.

LIGO Announces Detection of Gravitational Waves From Colliding Neutron Stars

The U.S.-based Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory and the Virgo detector in Italy announced on Oct. 16 that all three of their detectors had picked up the ripples, or gravitational waves, from two neutron stars that collided 130 million years ago. Among other discoveries, the detection allowed scientists to use gravitational waves to directly calculate the rate at which the universe is expanding.

WVU Energy Conference to Address State's Economic Opportunities

West Virginia University will look at the state's emerging energy economy through industry experts, public policy organizations, environmental groups and academic institutions at the sixth annual National Energy Conference Oct. 20.

Exploring the Exotic World of Quarks and Gluons at the Dawn of the Exascale

As nuclear physicists delve ever deeper into the heart of matter, they require the tools to reveal the next layer of nature's secrets. Nowhere is that more true than in computational nuclear physics. A new research effort led by theorists at DOE's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) is now preparing for the next big leap forward in their studies thanks to funding under the 2017 SciDAC Awards for Computational Nuclear Physics.

Matthew Latimer Receives 2017 Lytle Award

A staff member at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Acceleratory Laboratory, Matthew Latimer is in charge of seven spectroscopy beamlines at SSRL. He was recently selected for the 2017 Farrel W. Lytle Award, established by the SSRL Users' Organization Executive Committee. The award promotes accomplishments in synchrotron science and supports collaboration among visiting scientists and staff who conduct research at SSRL.

Jefferson Lab Completes 12 GeV Upgrade

Nuclear physicists are now poised to embark on a new journey of discovery into the fundamental building blocks of the nucleus of the atom. The completion of the 12 GeV Upgrade Project of the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) at the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) heralds this new era to image nuclei at their deepest level.


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Hybrid Material Glows Like Jellyfish

Scientists combine biology, nanotechnology into composites that light up upon chemical stimulation.

Tiny Tornados at the Dawn of the Universe

Swirling soup of matter's fundamental building blocks spins ten billion trillion times faster than the most powerful tornado, setting new record for "vorticity."

On-Demand 3-D Printing of Tiny Magic Wands

Direct writing of pure-metal structures may advance novel light sources, sensors and information storage technologies.

Heavy Quarks Probe the Early Universe

New studies of behaviors of particles containing heavy quarks shed light into what the early universe looked like in its first microseconds.

Discovering the Genetic Timekeepers in Bioenergy Crops

A new class of plant-specific genes required for flowering control in temperate grasses is found.

New Technology Illuminates Microbial Dark Matter

Demonstrating the microfluidic-based, mini-metagenomics approach on samples from hot springs shows how scientists can delve into microbes that can't be cultivated in a laboratory.

Tiny Green Algae Reveal Large Genomic Variation

First complete picture of genetic variations in a natural algal population could help explain how environmental changes affect global carbon cycles.

A Complex Little Alga that Lives by the Sea

The genetic material of Porphyra umbilicalis reveals the mechanisms by which it thrives in the stressful intertidal zone at the edge of the ocean.

Precise Radioactivity Measurements: A Controversy Settled

Simultaneous measurements of x-rays and gamma rays emitted in radioactive nuclear decays show that the vacancy left by an electron's departure, not the atomic structure, influences whether gamma rays are released.

OLYMPUS Experiment Sheds Light on Inner Workings of Protons

Seven-year study explains how packets of light are exchanged when protons meet electrons.


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