DOE News
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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.
    • 2018-10-20 09:05:25
    • Article ID: 702423

    Cryocooler Cools an Accelerator Cavity

    Researchers demonstrated cryogen-free operation of a superconducting radio-frequency cavity that might ease barriers to its use in societal applications.

    • Credit: Martin Murphy, Fermilab

      A superconducting radio-frequency (RF) accelerator cavity is mounted and connected to a cryocooler, cooling the cavity without the use of liquid helium. This new device could make it easier to produce high-average-power electron beams for industrial applications.

    The Science

    Particle accelerators are made of structures called cavities, which impart energy to the particle beam, kicking it forward. One type of cavity is the superconducting radio-frequency, or SRF, cavity. Usually made of niobium, SRF cavities require extreme cold to operate. A Fermilab team developed a new way of cooling SRF cavities without liquid helium. The new system is easier to operate and simpler to construct.

    The Impact

    Electron beams could help clean water and repair roads. The barrier is the need for ultra-cold liquid helium. For the first time, a team has cooled a superconducting accelerator cavity without liquid helium. Replacing liquid helium with plug-and-play devices called cryocoolers could make SRF technology available to industry. Energy-efficient SRF accelerators can provide high-average-power electron beams. The beams could strengthen materials, reconstruct asphalt pavement, treat wastewater, and more.

    Summary

    All SRF particle accelerators to-date use liquid helium to maintain the extremely cold temperatures necessary for sustaining superconductivity. Liquid-helium operation demands complex infrastructure: a liquefaction plant, distribution lines, gas recovery, purification systems, and cavity cryomodules that can withstand high pressure. There are also safety hazards associated with operation of the liquid helium. Although such an infrastructure is appropriate for large-scale research accelerators, it can be too complex and costly for industrial applications.

    For the first time, a team at Fermilab's Illinois Accelerator Research Center has cooled an accelerating cavity to cryogenic temperatures without the use of liquid helium. They achieved this by connecting a cavity to a commercially available cryocooler, using a Fermilab-patented technology.

    Connecting the cavity to the cryocooler was a significant challenge that required investigating various materials and designing custom components. The team produced niobium conduction rings and connected them to the cavity shell using electron-beam welding. They also developed niobium-aluminum joints that allowed heat to flow easily from the cavity to the cryocooler. To generate heat into the cavity, the team used a simple plug-and-play radio-frequency driver, as in laboratory accelerators.

    Electromagnetic gradients are generated within SRF cavities; stronger gradients impart more energy to the beam. This first-ever cryogen‑free operation produced a gradient of 0.5 MV/m on a single-cell, 650-MHz niobium cavity. Fermilab researchers plan to soon achieve gradients up to 10 MV/m by using higher capacity cryocoolers and capitalizing on other recent advances in cavity technology. The team is exploring the application of conduction cooling technology to higher frequencies, multicell cavities, and other radio-frequency structures.

    Funding

    The Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of High Energy Physics funded this research.

    Publications

    R.C. Dhuley, M.I. Geelhoed, and J.C.T. Thangaraj, “Thermal resistance of pressed contacts of aluminum and niobium at liquid helium temperatures.” Cryogenics 93, 86 (2018). [DOI: 10.1016/j.cryogenics.2018.06.003]

    R. Kephart, “Conduction cooling systems for linear accelerator cavities.” U.S. Patent 9642239 B2, May 2, 2017.

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    New Molecular Blueprint Advances Our Understanding of Photosynthesis

    New Molecular Blueprint Advances Our Understanding of Photosynthesis

    Researchers at Berkeley Lab have used one of the most advanced microscopes in the world to reveal the structure of a large protein complex crucial to photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert sunlight into cellular energy. The finding will allow scientists to explore for the first time how the complex functions and could have implications for the production of a variety of bioproducts, including plastic alternatives and biofuels.

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    Too Close for Comfort: Nanoparticles Need Some Space to Transfer Energy

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    Atomic Snapshots of Photosynthesis

    Atomic Snapshots of Photosynthesis

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    Newly isolated human gut bacterium reveals possible connection to depression

    Researchers have established a correlation between depression and a group of neurotransmitter-producing bacteria found in the human gut.

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    Chemicals Can Change Their Identity, Thanks to the Liquids Where They Reside

    Far from being a mere spectator, solvents can play a larger role in chemical reactions, likely including those used in energy storage and biology.

    ORNL Teams with Los Alamos, EPB to Demonstrate Next-Generation Grid Security Tech

    ORNL Teams with Los Alamos, EPB to Demonstrate Next-Generation Grid Security Tech

    A team of researchers from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge and Los Alamos National Laboratories has partnered with EPB, a Chattanooga utility and telecommunications company, to demonstrate the effectiveness of metro-scale quantum key distribution (QKD) as a means of secure communication for the nation's electricity suppliers. This initial milestone is part of the team's three-year project focused on next-generation grid security.

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    Sophisticated Blood Analysis Provides New Clues About Ebola, Treatment Avenues

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    Researchers use X-rays to understand the flaws of battery fast charging

    Researchers use X-rays to understand the flaws of battery fast charging

    Argonne researchers used the laboratory's Advanced Photon Source to image a battery as it was quickly charged and discharged, allowing for the observation of lithium plating behavior that can inhibit the battery's long-term function.


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    DOE launches its first lithium-ion battery recycling R&D center: ReCell

    DOE launches its first lithium-ion battery recycling R&D center: ReCell

    The launch of the Energy Department's first lithium-ion battery recycling center, called the ReCell Center, will help the United States grow a globally competitive recycling industry and reduce our reliance on foreign sources of battery materials.

    James Wishart Awarded Maria Skłodowska-Curie Medal

    James Wishart Awarded Maria Skłodowska-Curie Medal

    James Wishart, a chemist at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, has been awarded the Maria Skłodowska-Curie Medal by the Polish Radiation Research Society (PRRS). The award recognizes his distinguished achievements in the field of radiation chemistry and his long-lasting and productive interactions with Polish scientists.

    Lynbrook High wins 2019 SLAC Regional Science Bowl competition

    Lynbrook High wins 2019 SLAC Regional Science Bowl competition

    Twenty-eight teams from 17 Bay Area high schools faced off Feb. 9 in the SLAC Regional DOE Science Bowl, a series of fast-paced question-and-answer matches that test knowledge in biology, chemistry, physics, earth and space sciences, energy and math. The competition is hosted annually by the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

    UNLV Among 11 Teams Worldwide To Compete in 2020 Solar Decathlon

    UNLV Among 11 Teams Worldwide To Compete in 2020 Solar Decathlon

    Students to build sustainable home of healing for military veterans for U.S. Department of Energy contest; UNLV competed in 2013 and 2017.

    Three Brookhaven Scientists Named Highly Cited Researchers

    Three Brookhaven Scientists Named Highly Cited Researchers

    Three scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have been named to the 2018 Highly Cited Researchers List, which recognizes influential researchers whose work ranks in the top one percent of the world's most-cited scientific papers. Brookhaven's Radoslav Adzic, Mark Hybertsen, and Xiao-Qing Yang are among only 4,000 researchers from around the world whom achieved the distinction in 2018.

    New tools in transportation

    New tools in transportation

    A new version of the AFLEET Tool from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory calculates and compares the costs and environmental benefits of a broad range of alternative fuel technologies. Covering 18 fuel/vehicle technologies, AFLEET Online offers an easy-to-use web-based platform.

    Remote-Control Plasma Physics Experiment is Named One of Top Webcams of 2018

    Remote-Control Plasma Physics Experiment is Named One of Top Webcams of 2018

    EarthCam names remote-control experiment at PPPL one of 25 most interesting Webcams of 2018.

    Jefferson Lab Scientist Awarded Distinguished Lectureship

    Jefferson Lab Scientist Awarded Distinguished Lectureship

    Cynthia Keppel, leader of Jefferson Lab's Halls A&C, has been honored with the APS 2019 Distinguished Lectureship Award on the Applications of Physics.

    Journal Special Issues Honor Chemists Radoslav Adzic and Jan Hrbek

    Journal Special Issues Honor Chemists Radoslav Adzic and Jan Hrbek

    The Journal of the Electrochemical Society and Surface Science recognized the contributions of Brookhaven Lab chemists Radoslav Adzic and Jan Hrbek to electrocatalysis and catalysis.

    Argonne scientist elected as SAE Fellow

    Argonne scientist elected as SAE Fellow

    Scientist Michael Wang from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory was recently inducted as a Fellow of the professional engineering organization SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers). The organization reserves this prestigious grade of membership for thosewho have made significant contributions to mobility technology and have demonstrated leadership in their field.


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    Newly Discovered Design Rules Lead to Better Fuel Cell Catalyst

    Newly Discovered Design Rules Lead to Better Fuel Cell Catalyst

    Optimized oxides made from common metals use less energy and show the potential of new design approach.

    Too Close for Comfort: Nanoparticles Need Some Space to Transfer Energy

    Too Close for Comfort: Nanoparticles Need Some Space to Transfer Energy

    Particle crowding interferes with moving energy efficiently along promising molecular chains.

    Atomic Snapshots of Photosynthesis

    Atomic Snapshots of Photosynthesis

    Scientists catch details with atomic resolution, potentially helping design systems to use sunlight and water to produce fuels.

    Chemicals Can Change Their Identity, Thanks to the Liquids Where They Reside

    Chemicals Can Change Their Identity, Thanks to the Liquids Where They Reside

    Far from being a mere spectator, solvents can play a larger role in chemical reactions, likely including those used in energy storage and biology.

    Controlling Charge Flow by Managing Electron Holes

    Controlling Charge Flow by Managing Electron Holes

    Researchers watch and measure in real time charge dynamics between layers of oxide materials, offering insights into solar cells.

    Controls on Nitrogen Nutrient Availability in the Arctic Tundra

    Controls on Nitrogen Nutrient Availability in the Arctic Tundra

    Soil moisture is key to determining plant growth and nutrient cycling in complex tundra landscapes.

    Hydrogels Change Water and Solute Dynamics

    Hydrogels Change Water and Solute Dynamics

    Hydrogel pores can modify the molecular-level motion of water and dissolved ions.

    Coupling Computer Models Shows Interactions among River Water, Groundwater, and Land Surfaces

    Coupling Computer Models Shows Interactions among River Water, Groundwater, and Land Surfaces

    Computer model offers detailed view of water cycling and complex Earth system dynamics.

    Viruses Must Overcome Challenges to Infect Bacteria in Nature

    Viruses Must Overcome Challenges to Infect Bacteria in Nature

    Molecular studies show phage-host interactions are more complicated than most laboratory studies suggest.

    The Subtle, but Significant, Role of Surfaces in Ion Stickiness

    The Subtle, but Significant, Role of Surfaces in Ion Stickiness

    Direct interactions dominate ion adsorption to aqueous graphene, a process central to vital processes in energy technology.


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