mercredi 18 novembre 2015

Upgraded nuclear physics facility starts up

CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research logo.

November 18, 2015

Over the last few weeks, CERN's nuclear physics facility, ISOLDE, has been producing ion beams at higher energies. The first cryomodule of the new HIE-ISOLDE (High-Intensity and Energy ISOLDE) accelerator is up and running, increasing the beam energy from 3 to 4.3 MeV per nucleon.

Image above: The ISOLDE beamline, equipped with the first HIE-ISOLDE cryomodule in its light grey cryostat. Image Credit: CERN.

The unique ISOLDE facility accelerates different types of radioactive ions for many fields of fundamental and applied research. Each year, its beams are used by around fifty experiments studying a wide range of subjects from the properties of atoms and nuclei to biomedical applications, nuclear astrophysics and solid-state physics. By producing higher-energy beams, the HIE-ISOLDE accelerator will increase the research opportunities further.

These first beams are the result of eight years of development and manufacturing. The assembly of this first cryomodule presented CERN’s teams with numerous technical challenges. It contains five accelerating cavities and a solenoid magnet that focuses the beam, all of which are superconducting. The cavities were particularly complex to build, and the cryomodule is made up of no fewer than 10 000 components! It was transported to the ISOLDE hall on 2 May and coupled to the existing accelerator. The commissioning began in the summer, culminating in the acceleration of the first radioactive beam on 22 October.

HIE-ISOLDE: Nuclear Physics Now at Higher Energies

HIE-ISOLDE will run for a total of five weeks this year. Next year, another cryomodule will be coupled to the first, increasing the energy to 5.5 MeV per nucleon. The assembly of the final two cryomodules will begin in mid-2016, bringing the final energy to 10 MeV per nucleon for the heaviest nuclei available at ISOLDE.

Read the full article in the CERN Bulletin:


CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.

The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 22 Member States.

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CERN's nuclear physics facility ISOLDE:

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Image (mentioned), Video, Text, Credits: CERN/Corinne Pralavorio.

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