HIE-ISOLDE is set to be the world’s leading nuclear physics site, ultimately accelerating radioactive nuclei to an impressive 10 MeV/u. Helping the facility reach this energy are new superconducting cryomodules, the first quarter-wave cavity module to be assembled at CERN and necessitating a custom cleanroom in SM18.
At a towering five meters tall, the new cleanroom houses a custom assembly frame and associated equipment, moving the components of the 6-ton cryomodules both vertically and horizontally while they are being assembled.
“Each cryomodule is made up of some 10,000 parts, which have come from across the continents to be assembled here,” says CERN TE engineer Lloyd Williams, who is managing quality assurance for the project. “Each part is checked by the CERN team, catalogued and thoroughly cleaned, before being installed in the cryomodule with sub-millimeter precision.”
While piecing together this complex puzzle is tough enough, the team also needs to keep the module pristine during every phase of assembly.
“The cryomodules feature a single vacuum, with no separation between the beam and insulation vacuums,” says CERN TE engineer Yann Leclercq, who is leading the cryomodule assembly team. “This means the entire assembly zone needs to be kept as pristine as possible, as a single speck of dust could later pollute sensitive RF cavities and seriously affect the cavity performances. Our cleanroom has a constant flow of filtered air, keeping the construction area spotless, and we keep interventions in the room to a minimum to avoid any unnecessary contamination.”
It’s a delicate process, and one that will take the assembly team six long months to get just right with the help and support from the Beams and Engineering Departments. The first cryomodule should be completed and assembled in the HIE-ISOLDE facility by mid-2015. Then it will be given to BE-RF experts, the equipment owners, for final RF validation.
At CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, physicists, and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. They use the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter – the fundamental particles. The particles are made to collide together at close to the speed of light. The process gives the physicists clues about how the particles interact, and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature.
The instruments used at CERN are purpose-built particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before the beams are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.
Founded in 1954, the CERN laboratory sits astride the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 21 member states.
Release Date: December 15, 2014