Advanced Technology R&D

Unique Aspects and Scientific Challenges

Unique Aspects:

The Advanced Technology subprogram supports five areas of research:

  • Accelerator Science—supports research that investigate novel acceleration concepts, such as the use of plasmas and lasers to accelerate charged particles; theoretical studies in advanced beam dynamics, including the study of non-linear optics and space-charge dominated beams; studies of accelerating gradient limits in normal conducting accelerators; development of advanced particle beam sources and instrumentation; and accelerator R&D into the fundamental issues associated with the ionization cooling of muon beams.
  • General Accelerator Development-- major areas of R&D  supported are superconducting magnet and related materials technology; high-powered RF acceleration systems; instrumentation; beam dynamics, both linear and nonlinear; and development of large simulation programs.
  • Superconducting RF (SRF) R&D-- supports development of the infrastructure necessary for SRF development and includes equipment and facilities for accelerator cavity processing, assembly, and testing and for cryomodule assembly and testing. The infrastructure will be utilized to improve cavity and cryomodule performance and prototype cryomodules for future projects.
  • International Linear Collider R&D—this program supports R&D in the generation and maintenance of very bright particle beams, damping rings, beam dynamics, and beam delivery systems for a future lepton collider. Additional support is for high level RF equipment and components associated with the main linac.
  • Detector Development—supports a broad range of research that, for example, covers liquid noble gas detectors, silicon photomultipliers, large area photodetectors, particle flow calorimeters, very low-mass trackers, and radiation resistant fast readout electronics.

Major facilities supported by the Advanced Technology subprogram include the Accelerator Test Facility (ATF) at Brookhaven National Laboratory and  the magnet laboratory and SRF facility both at Fermilab . Future facilities in the pipeline are FACET (SLAC)  and BELLA (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory).  These two facilities will explore plasma wakefield acceleration.

Relationship to Other Programs:

The well-known Livingston plot shows how the energy reach of accelerators has grown exponentially with time. This has been accomplished in large part because of advances in the science of accelerators through improvements in magnets, luminosity, brightness, gradients and reductions in size and cost.  In this regard, research conducted under HEP’s Advanced Technology subprogram lays the foundation for future scientific discoveries at the Energy Frontier, e.g. the discovery of the top quark at the Tevatron in 1995. Advanced Technology also supports research in detector developments that are used in both accelerator-based and non-accelerator-based high energy physics experiments. In short, the Advanced Technology R&D subprogram fosters world-leading research in the physics of particle beams, accelerator research and development, and particle detection—all necessary for continued progress in high energy physics at the Energy, Cosmic, and Intensity Frontiers. 
Most of the technology applications developed for high energy physics that prove useful to other science programs and to industry flow from the work carried out in this subprogram.  For example, the same technologies that find applications to synchrotron light sources, intense neutron sources, very short pulse, high brightness electron beams, and computational software for accelerator and charged particle beam optics design, are also widely used in nuclear physics, materials science, chemistry, medicine, and industry. Particle accelerators in particular have migrated into general usage for medical therapy and diagnostics, for preparation of radionuclides used in medical treatment facilities, and for the electronics and food industries, as well as applications in homeland security.
HEP’s Advanced Technology subprogram provides support to CERN and the LHC through two activities: the LHC Accelerator Research Program (LARP), which focuses on the accelerator science required to attain higher luminosities at the LHC, and through Accelerator Project for Upgrade of LHC (APUL), which focuses on developing the technology that will eventually be deployed at CERN to raise the LHC’s luminosity by multiple factors. Research carried out for LARP and APUL is done at several national laboratories. The Advanced Technology subprogram also collaborates with the NSF on the Muon Ionization Cooling Experiment (MICE) to develop a practical means for muon cooling for subsequent acceleration and on the International Linear Collider (ILC).

Scientific Challenges:

A broad range of scientific challenges—some near term, others further out--confront the Advanced Technology subprogram. Industrialization and cost are themes that run throughout the various activities supported by this subprogram. Some challenging areas of research include:

Superconducting magnets and related materials—Deployment of high temperature superconductors is a goal that requires materials that can be machined and fabricated into wires. Such materials would lower the operating costs of a future collider and must be available on an industrial scale for practical deployment. For the LHC upgrade, superconducting quadrupole magnets are required for tighter focusing to raise the luminosity.

Superconducting and normal-conducting RF cavities—present several challenges in their production yield, gradients that can be attained, their reliability, and operating lifetime. Advances in superconducting RF cavities are important to the development of high-intensity proton beams for neutrino physics, and high-gradient normal conducting cavities may provide an alternate pathway to a future lepton collider.
Beam physics—this covers several challenging areas. Ultimately one want high quality beams with low emittance and high intensities to maximize luminosities for crossed beam experiments and event rates for targeted experiments. High intensities are also needed at the Intensity Frontier for the production of secondary beams such as muons and muon neutrinos. This area also includes the development of beam delivery systems, instrumentation, and diagnostics.

Targetry—R&D is required for the development of high power targets used to generate secondary beams for positron production as well as as muons for both neutrino physics experiments and for a future muon collider,

Muon acceleration—being much heavier than electrons but still a point-like particle, a muon collider offers a window into particle productions that is “cleaner” than hadron-driven experiments. However, muons are produced as a secondary beam and have high emittances. Six-dimensional muon cooling is a necessary area of research for any future muon collider is built.
Plasma wakefield—whether electron- or laser-induced, plasma wakefield acceleration holds the promise of being able to generate accelerating gradients orders of magnitude greater than what is currently possible. However, the physics of plasma and charged particle propagation need considerable more work before practical applications are in reach.
Detector development—The Energy and Cosmic Frontiers require an assortment of detectors depending on what type of particles are to be detected. Cosmic Frontier detectors must be sensitive to rare events. And at the Energy and Intensity Frontiers, improvements must be made in the electronics and detectors to survive intense radiation exposure as higher energies and luminosities are attained.

Projected Evolution

HEP’s Advanced Technology subprogram will continue to develop the science and technology required for next generation accelerators and detectors. Its research thrust is three-pronged: near term, medium term and longer term research.  Near term R&D enables the design and construction of the new facilities needed to advance the field of high energy physics. It also enhances the capabilities of existing facilities. Medium-term R&D focuses on bringing new concepts to practice to enable the design of new facilities with advanced capabilities. And longer-term R&D is exploratory in nature and is aimed at developing new concepts. This three-pronged approach will guide the program in the years ahead.

Accelerator science has had a profound impact on society as a whole, in medicine, national security, industry, and energy and the environment. In medicine, accelerators are routinely used to make radioisotopes and treat patients. Industry uses them for sterilization of materials and for coatings and hardening of materials. Industrialization of magnets developed for the Tevatron at Fermilab made the commercial production of MRI cost effective. And x-ray sources are used for cargo scanning. The technology that made these applications feasible was first developed by the Office of High Energy Physics and its predecessors. The Office of High Energy Physics will advance its role as steward of accelerator science as a scientific endeavor in its own right with medium-term and longer-term R&D efforts that mutually support its scientific goals as well as have potential applications beyond its own walls and that of DOE.


Last modified: 3/18/2013 10:32:48 AM