Engineering 101

Fermilab Demonstrates Improved Particle Beams

Researchers at the U.S. DoE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory announced the first successful demonstration of a new technique that improves particle beams. Scientists could use this technique to create better, denser particle beams, increasing the number of collisions and giving researchers a better chance to explore rare physics phenomena. The team published its findings in a recent edition of Nature.

At Fermilab, scientists used the lab’s newest storage ring, the Integrable Optics Test Accelerator (IOTA), to demonstrate and explore a new beam cooling technology. They call the new technique ‘optical stochastic cooling.’ It measures how particles in a beam move away from their ideal course using a special configuration of magnets, lenses, and other optics to give corrective nudges.

The science team is now developing an improved system at IOTA that will be the key to advancing the technology. It will use an optical amplifier to strengthen the light from each particle by about a factor of 1,000 and apply machine learning to add system flexibility.

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