Charles Thangaraj

Charles Thangaraj is the Illinois Accelerator Research Center (IARC) science and technology manager. 

For the first time, a team at Fermilab has cooled and operated a superconducting radio-frequency cavity — a crucial component of superconducting particle accelerators — using cryogenic refrigerators, breaking the tradition of cooling cavities by immersing them in a bath of liquid helium. The demonstration is a major breakthrough in the effort to develop lean, compact accelerators for medicine, the environment and industry.

A superconducting radio-frequency accelerator cavity is mounted and connected to a cryocooler, cooling the cavity without the use of liquid helium. This new device could make it easier to produce high-average-power electron beams for industrial applications. Photo: Marty Murphy

Researchers demonstrate the cryogen-free operation of a superconducting radio-frequency cavity that might ease barriers to its use in societal applications.