Joined: 20 Jul 07
CERN\'s Large Hadron Collider became the world\'s highest energy particle collider when it began colliding protons at 1.18 tera-electron volts late last month. This was no small feat; it takes hundreds of mechanical and software systems to run such a machine—including a system governing the radio frequency waves that give particles their boost inside the accelerator. With their combined 25 years of experience on just such a system, a SLAC team of researchers helped CERN solve an unanticipated complexity with this LHC system, helping get the giant machine up and running.
\\\"Our team is the place where technology and accelerator physics come together,\" said SLAC accelerator physicist John Fox. \"We know particle beams and their dynamics, we have technical expertise with accelerator RF systems and feedback, and we’ve learned a lot understanding their interaction.\\\" Under Fox\'s leadership, SLAC researchers Dan Van Winkle, Themis Mastoridis and Claudio Rivetta used their knowledge of RF systems to design new software tools needed to commission and optimize the LHC RF system.
As in other accelerators, it\'s very important to keep both the LHC\'s beam and RF systems stable. The RF system governs the radio waves that push particles to ever higher energies, much as ocean waves help a surfer gain speed. But if an RF system is unstable or poorly optimized to the particle beam, it can inadvertently change the beam\'s shape or trajectory. These systems are very complex and require constant observation and adjustment—even more so at the LHC than at most other accelerators. Particles enter the LHC at a relatively low energy and then ramp up to the target collision energy. Substantial RF adjustments are needed throughout this ramp-up process.
More . . .
LHC: The Essential Guide Part 2