High-tech for FAIR: GSI and CERN jointly test components


With the focus on producing the highest quality equipment, the European Organization for Nuclear Research CERN in Switzerland and the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt work closely together on testing accelerator magnets. To this purpose, they have convenated a cooperation agreement, under which the test operation has started. The first magnet has been delivered to CERN and will be subjected to detailed quality tests both for the operational parameters and the magnetic field quality. The magnet is the first-of-series for the future accelerator center FAIR currently under construction at GSI.

The cooperation between CERN and GSI provides for the testing of magnets weighing more than 50 tons and to qualify them for operation in the superconducting fragment separator (Super-FRS), which is an important part of the FAIR facility. Precise production of the high-tech components for FAIR isn’t the only decisive step; the testing and quality assurance of the individual parts and magnets is also crucial.

As part of the cooperation, the partners have created a test facility containing three magnet test benches at CERN, where the first tests are starting now. First, the facility will allow for intense endurance tests of the so-called multiplets, which are superconducting magnet units with corrective lenses. Moreover, it will be examined if the magnets behave flawlessly in accordance with high quality standards during operation. The multiplets, each up to seven meters long, will later be used in FAIR's Super-FRS for beam focusing in order to achieve a high-precision particle beam.

The Super-FRS of the future FAIR accelerator center is an important component of the entire facility with great potential for scientific discovery: This part of the accelerator complex 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 separate and supply for further experiments. With the new separator, nuclei up to uranium can be produced at relativistic energies and can be separated into pure isotopes. Because this entire process lasts for only a few hundred nanoseconds, the Super-FRS provides researchers access to very short-lived nuclei.

The multiplets, which were manufactured in La Spezia, Italy, as well as the subsequent testing procedure are an important in-kind contribution from GSI to the FAIR project. GSI is the German shareholder of the international FAIR GmbH. All of the superconducting magnets required for the Super-FRS will be tested in alternating sequence in the new test facility at CERN. This includes both the total of 32 multiplet units and 24 superconducting dipole magnets that will be needed for deflecting the particle beam. (BP)