Test & measurement

Fast-tracking innovation from LHC into industry

Professor Carsten Welsch, head of the Department of Physics at the University of Liverpool and a senior academic at the Cockcroft Institute, believes that technologies being developed at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have excellent potential to translate into medical and industrial applications. In this article, we find out more about these technologies such as the supersonic gas jet based beam profile monitor

and the discovery of the Higgs Boson, but for industry the extreme conditions created by this big science infrastructure provide the ultimate test environment for new technologies. The LHC is currently being upgraded to


increase its luminosity (rate of collisions) by a factor of ten to increase the number of rare particles it is able to generate. Funding of £26m for the High Luminosity (HL-LHC) upgrade has just been announced for a range of projects aimed at developing the technologies needed to achieve this ambition. This includes super conducting magnets for improved beam control, new types of cavities for beam rotation, and improved diagnostics for monitoring and controlling the beams. Many of these are being delivered by UK universities and will require high-tech components commissioned from industry. Particles such as those created by the LHC


he Large Hadron Collider (LHC) may, in the eyes of the public, be associated with increasing understanding of the ‘Big Bang’

are increasingly being used in a range of applications ranging from mass spectroscopy and ion implantation in semiconductor fabrication through to antimatter studies with antiprotons, nuclear physics studies using rare isotope beams, and hadron cancer therapy (a new form of irradiation therapy that uses protons and other ions instead of x-rays). The scarcity of the particles means that all these

areas would profit from beam intensity measurement that can be done in real-time and without destroying or perturbing the beam itself.

SUPerSonIC gaS jet beam ProfILer One of the HL-LHC upgrade projects is led by researchers from the University of Liverpool’s Quantum Systems and Accelerator Research (QUASAR) Group. With increased luminosity the beams become too powerful and beam instrumentation currently used would no longer work. This requires entirely new approaches to

Prof Carsten Welsch. Credit: Cockcroft Institute

fully characterise the beams. The QUASAR group is targeting this challenge with the development of a supersonic gas jet beam profiler. The gas jet profiler creates a thin screen of

electrically neutral particles. This jet then crosses the primary beam in the HL-LHC, resulting in excitation of the particles in the jet and the emission of light. This light can then be detected and used for two-dimensional imaging of the beam. The non-interceptive gas jet beam profiler is

flexible and scalable, enabling its use across a range of accelerators, and is not restricted to high- energy storage rings such as the HL-LHC. It can measure the detailed properties of essentially any beam of charged particles in just a few seconds. The equipment developed in this process will

overcome the limitations of existing technologies. Currently beam-monitoring techniques rely

on sensing the electromagnetic fields induced by the beam. Low-intensity beams present a considerable challenge due to the weak signals available to the diagnostic pickups, while, at the

November 2020 Instrumentation Monthly

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