Cryomodules of five different types, one of which is the SSR1 pictured here, boost the energy of the beam. cryomodule, beam, PIP-II, superconducting technology, accelerator Photo: Tom Nicol, Fermilab

A Fermilab team has completed tests for a crucial superconducting segment for the PIP-II particle accelerator, the future heart of the Fermilab accelerator chain. The segment, called a cryomodule, will be one of many, but this is the first to be fully designed, assembled and tested at Fermilab. It represents a journey of technical challenges and opportunities for innovation in superconducting accelerator technology.

Later this decade, the Large Hadron Collider will be upgraded to the High-Luminosity LHC. What does “luminosity” mean in particle physics, and why measure it instead of collisions?

The new Irradiation Test Area has met a milestone: On Jan. 11, it began transporting a high-intensity proton beam to the very first set of user experiments. The ITA will play a critical role in High-Luminosity LHC projects and others to come. The beginning of operations ushers in a new era of instrumentation development in high-energy physics.

Fermilab scientist Robert Ainsworth has won a $2.5 million Department of Energy Early Career Research Award to study different ways of ensuring stability in high-intensity proton beams. By studying how certain types of beam instabilities emerge and evolve under different conditions, his team can help sharpen scientists’ methods for correcting them or avoiding them to begin with.

Fermilab scientist Alexey Burov has discovered that accelerator scientists misinterpreted a certain collection of phenomena found in intense proton beams for decades. Researchers had misidentified these beam instabilities, assigning them to particular class when, in fact, they belong to a new type of class: convective instabilities. In a paper published this year, Burov explains the problem and proposes a more effective suppression of the unwanted beam disorder.

Our accelerator team has met all of this year’s beam delivery goals, including those for NOvA, the Short-Baseline Neutrino program, and the new Muon Campus.