October 7, 2014
Over the course of the past 30 years, the way groups form and operate in experimental particle and nuclear physics has seen major transformations, all in the same direction. The numbers of people and the numbers of institutions involved in any given project have risen. The numbers involved in each of the major experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN have reached about 3,000 physicists, and many tens of institutions, many countries. This explosion makes experiments like DZero or CDF at the Fermilab Tevatron look quite modest, although at the time of the discovery of the top quark, nearly 20 years ago, a little competition we ran found 40-odd native languages among the 400 collaborators.
Such an expansion has been less marked in the accelerator realm. Within the United States, the Spallation Neutron Source stood out. Argonne National Lab, Brookhaven National Lab, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Oak Ridge National Lab, Los Alamos National Lab, Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, six national labs in all, participated in the construction project. Each of the labs brought a particular field of expertise to bear on the project. For Jefferson Lab, the contributions were the fabrication of the main accelerating components, the cryomodules of the linac and the procurement of the cryogenic plant which provided the liquid helium, suitably conditioned to cool the cavities in the cryomodules. These efforts have formed the basis of a number of collaborations in which Jefferson Lab has become engaged. We were deeply involved in the cryogenic plant for the test facility for NASA’s James Webb telescope at Houston. We are currently working with the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University.
Over the past five years, we have constructed the 12 GeV Upgrade to our CEBAF accelerator, and in doing so, have enlisted the help of several national labs. Fermilab is constructing the coil cold masses for the Torus magnet and the silicon vertex tracker modules for Hall B. FRIB is fabricating a dipole magnet that provides an initial bend to separate electrons scattered at small angles into the brand new Super High Momentum Spectrometer being assembled in Hall C. And at a smaller scale, people from BNL, LBNL, ORNL, SLAC and other labs have helped us monitor the progress of the project.
A year ago, the Office of Basic Energy Sciences decided to respond to some recommendations from its advisory committee to re-examine its light source construction program. What resulted was a scheme to modify the Linac Coherent Light Source II (LCLS II) project so as to provide a 4 GeV continuous wave superconducting linac integrated into the existing SLAC National Accelerator Lab infrastructure. SLAC management immediately called a number of labs and asked for help. During the course of the fall a year ago, a collaboration was formed. Along with SLAC, Argonne, Cornell University, Fermilab, Jefferson Lab, and LBNL formed a team to execute the project. The work was shared in a natural way. Cornell U. has a strong reputation in superconducting radiofrequency (srf) research and development and that will be shared with Fermilab and Jefferson Lab. Jefferson Lab has built most of the existing srf accelerating capability in the US, and Fermilab has developed the infrastructure with a view to its own accelerator needs. This has led to an approximate fifty-fifty sharing of the cryomodule production. In cryogenics, Jefferson Lab has had recent experience with the 12 GeV and FRIB acquisitions, and Fermilab has years of experience of cryogenic distribution systems; so again a match of expertise was clear.
Last week, little more than a year from inception, this team was reviewed here at Jefferson Lab by the DOE SC Office of Project Assessment. We hosted more than a hundred people, reviewers and reviewees, from around the Office of Science complex. These included Directors or Associate Directors from all the participating labs. The CEBAF Center atrium was abuzz, with many parallel sessions occupying our meeting rooms, and not a few side meetings related to other projects took place. Many of the participants were new to Jefferson Lab, and a tour of the TEDF and Central Helium Liquefier plant was extremely popular. The Office of Science Associate Director for Basic Energy Sciences, Harriet Kung, spent two days here and caught the tour. Her words at the closeout were very complimentary for the lab. Indeed the general tenor of the whole operation was very positive and, as I have come to expect, the enthusiasm of our staff shone for all to see.
The whole process demonstrates how the DOE complex of national labs can integrate its expertise to embark on an adventure that none of them could contemplate alone. Of course the trick is not only to embark, but also to sail, and to reach port. Discussions between the Directors were very positive in that respect. A comment from one of the reviewers was that “the setup of the multi-lab collaboration is well done”.
There are a number of entities associated with government, which are looking at the way that the national laboratories work, asking questions about their coherence, and their differentials. Last week, we saw a display of a lot of the reasons why the DOE national lab system is much admired across the world.
We are demonstrating how we work together.