Particle accelerators are some of the most complicated machines in science. In today’s more autonomous era of self-driving cars and vacuuming robots, efforts are going strong to automate different aspects of the operation of accelerators, and the next generation of particle accelerators promises to be more automated than ever. Scientists are working on ways to run them with a diminishing amount of direction from humans.

What do particle accelerators and craggy outcrops have in common? Both have Tor Raubenheimer trotting the globe. Thanks to both his work at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and his passion for rock climbing, he has gotten to know people and places on several continents.

A Ph.D. student at the Illinois Institute of Technology conducting his research at Fermilab, Bafia is currently researching a method to draw maximum performance from acceleration cavities. The method, called nitrogen doping, increases superconducting radio-frequency cavity efficiency and boosts beams to higher energies over shorter distances. His work earned him the Best Student Poster Prize at the 2019 International Particle Accelerator Conference.


In particle accelerators, the greater a beam’s intensity, the more opportunities there are to study particle interactions. One way to increase the intensity is to merge two beams with a technique called slip-stacking. However, when combining them, the beams’ interaction may cause instability. A Fermilab scientist has created a successful model of the fraught dynamics of two particle beams in close contact, leading to smoother sailing in this area of particle acceleration.

From Gizmodo, May 15, 2019: Fermilab scientist David Harding talks to Gizmodo about a particle accelerator’s sonic environment. You can’t hear subatomic particles colliding inside the experiment. But the world’s largest science experiments certainly make a lot of mechanical commotion.

Neutrinos are notorious for not interacting with anything, and yet scientists are able to make beams of neutrinos and point them in very specific directions, hitting targets many hundreds of miles away. In this 5-minute video, Fermilab scientist Don Lincoln explains the simple and clever technique researchers use to make this happen.

It’s always great when every one of Fermilab’s nine particle accelerators are turned on and provide beam. With the lab again firing on all accelerator-cylinders, we thought it would be a good time to provide a rundown of each of the members of Fermilab’s accelerator complex. Get to know Fermilab’s suite of accelerators and storage rings.