Getting the most out of Fermilab’s accelerators

Associate Director
for Accelerators
Stuart Henderson

While the high-energy physics community focuses on the 10- to 20-year plan for the field in the P5 planning process, we find ourselves quite busy in the here-and-now delivering on our commitments to our user community.

With the completion of the long accelerator shutdown in early September — the most substantial reconfiguration of the Fermilab accelerator complex since the Main Injector was built — the Accelerator Division has been focusing on recommissioning the machines to increase the beam power delivered to the NuMI beamline for the NOvA experiment. Our plans call for doubling the beam power delivered to NuMI, increasing our pre-shutdown power level of 350 kW to 700 kW.

Doubling the beam power is an ambitious and challenging task that will demand the attention and focus of many within the accelerator sector. The recommissioning of the Recycler ring, under way right now, will allow the accumulation of high-intensity beam in that accelerator, prior to the beam’s acceleration to high energy in the Main Injector.

Further demand for Fermilab’s proton beams have motivated our plans for the Proton Improvement Plan and the Muon Campus. The goal of PIP is to double the beam flux from the Booster while increasing the long-term reliability of the proton source. These improvements, together with the Muon Campus reconfiguration, will support the field’s plans for the Muon g-2 and Mu2e experiments, which will come online in a few years. Carrying out these challenging improvements requires the focus and attention of many of us at the laboratory.

While these improvements will give us leading capabilities for the near-term accelerator-based particle physics program, it is clear that higher proton intensities are required to meet the future demands of next-generation experiments. To that end, planning for PIP-II is under way. PIP-II will provide beam intensities that are unmatched and, at the same time, provide a platform from which to build the particle physics accelerators of the future.

These are ambitious plans that will position Fermilab at the forefront of Intensity Frontier accelerators for particle physics. These improvements and upgrades build upon the substantial investment in Fermilab’s infrastructure over the last 40-plus years to deliver world-leading beam intensity and beam power in the most cost-effective way possible.

Thanks to all of you who are working so hard to get the most out of Fermilab’s accelerators.