NPL News Now

September 6, 2018
Early Accelerator Builders at the University of Illinois

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has had a distinguished record in developing accelerators for both nuclear/particle physics experiments as well as for the many applications thereof outside of subatomic physics per-se. Donald Kerst built the world’s first betatron here in 1941, but, 5 years earlier Gerald Kruger and his students built the world’s third cyclotron and the first outside of Berkeley. The Department’s historian, Celia Elliott, has put together a terrific article from the archives outlining these developments and the people who made them possible.

August 20, 2018
CCD, LSI and CC Funding Outlook

Last week the nEDM collaboration met in Washington with our review committee and representatives of the NSF and DOE to assess the status of our experiment following the “Critical Component Demonstration” (CCD) phase of development. The next phases of the experiment will involve both building up the subsystems from the components we have prototyped in CCD, called “Large Subsystem Integration” (LSI), as well as procurement of the “Conventional Components” (CC), such as the experimental hall, the neutron beamline, the magnetic shield and the cryogenic plant, needed for the operation of the experiment. We received a strong, positive response from the review committee with encouragement to try to complete the fabrication as soon as possible. We have now been funded by both agencies for the coming years; in particular, NSF is putting the finishing touches on support of our helium-3 services subsystem (Illinois) and the magnetic systems (Caltech). In total, NSF will provide $7.7M ($4.4M to Illinois) over the next 5 years to complete these two subsystems, including the magnetic shield. The total NSF equipment support for these two subsystems, including CCD, LSI and CC totals over $13M, significantly in excess of the $11M we agreed on at the outset of the project. We are very grateful to NSF for their increased contribution. Congratulations to everyone in the collaboration, and, in particular, to everyone in Urbana who helped make this possible: grad students Tom Rao, Sarvagya Sharma and Blake Erickson together with numerous undergrads, technicians John Blackburn, Lucas Hsu, Peter Sobel and Eric Thorsland, and, of course, our subsystem manager, Steve Williamson.