The new accelerator facility FAIR is under construction at GSI. Learn more.


Funded by


Magnet tests for FAIR: GSI and CERN conclude cooperation agreement


Many of the key components for the future particle accelerator facility FAIR are currently under development or in production. However, production isn’t the only decisive step, because the testing of the individual parts’ quality is also crucial. The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland and GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung, where FAIR is currently being built, have now concluded a cooperation agreement for the reliable testing of magnets weighing more than 50 tons each and destined for use in the Superconducting Fragment Separator (Super-FRS), which will be part of the FAIR facility.

As part of the collaboration, the partners have created a test facility containing three magnet test rigs. The first tests are scheduled to begin in 1st half of the year 2018. The facility will conduct intense endurance tests of multiplets, which are superconducting magnet units with corrective lenses, and then examine if they behave flawlessly in accordance with high quality standards during operation. Unlike the usual copper cables, superconducting systems don’t pose any resistance to electric currents. To achieve superconductivity, the units are cooled to around -270 degrees Celsius during operation.

The multiplets, which weigh up to 60 tons each, will later be used for beam correction in the Super-FRS at FAIR to achieve a high-precision particle beam. This part of the future accelerator center FAIR will be used for experiments on the fundamental structure of extremely rare exotic nuclei. For these experiments, ions of the heaviest elements will be shot at a target, where they will shatter upon impact. The resulting fragments will include exotic nuclei that the Super-FRS can supply to scientists for their experiments. The Super-FRS will enable researchers to produce exotic nuclei up to uranium at relativistic energies and separate them into pure isotopes. Because this process lasts for only a few hundred nanoseconds, it provides researchers access to very short-lived nuclei.

The multiplets, which were manufactured in Genoa, Italy, are an important in-kind contribution from GSI to the FAIR project, as is the subsequent testing process. GSI is the German shareholder of the international FAIR GmbH.  All of the superconducting magnets that will be needed for the Super-FRS will be tested in the new test facility at CERN. The magnets will initially consist of a total of 33 multiplet units, which will be followed by 24 superconducting dipole magnets that will be needed for deflecting the particle beam. (BP) 

Test facility at CERN
Signing of the contract
from left: Jörg Blaurock, Technical Director of GSI and FAIR; Frédérick Bordry, Director for Accelerators and Technology, CERN.
Photo: GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Photo: Lisette Van Den Boogaard/CERN