Critical Components/Enabling Technologies for High-gradient Particle Accelerators
Agency / Branch:
DOD / DTRA
OBJECTIVE: High-gradient accelerator technology is sought for development of transportable accelerators capable of accelerating protons, electrons or muons. Portable-accelerator applications of interest to DTRA require protons with energy in the tens of MeV range and in the few GeV range; electrons in the 100 MeV range; and muons in the hundreds of MeV range. Critical technology is sought that will enable construction of systems operable from moving military platforms or will significantly reduce the overall footprint of currently available technology. DESCRIPTION: The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA is investigating the use of high energy, particle sources for detecting special nuclear materials (SNM). Systems transportable on military platforms are required. Reduction of the size and weight of existing and novel systems are goals. Critical technology that will lead to increased accelerating gradients will help to achieve program goals. The following examples may represent current state-of-the-art gradients for acceleration of protons: Superconducting Radio Frequency Cavity (SCRF): 47 MV/m Normal-conducting RF: 290 MV/m Dielectric Wall Accelerator (DWA): 100 MV/m Target Normal Sheath Accelerator (TNSA): 1 TV/m Radiation Pressure Accelerator (RPA): ≥1 TV/m In the TNSA the length of the accelerating gradient is limited to about 50 micrometer so that proton energy may be limited to around 50 MeV. The RPA offers potential for GeV protons directly from a thin foil but the required laser intensity exceeds the current capability (based on Hercules laser at University of Michigan) by 1-2 orders of magnitude. Key components of the DWA are insulating material with very high dielectric constant and high speed switching technology. Breakthroughs in key enabling technologies may be the critical paths for realizing practical transportable high-gradient accelerators. Other technologies, such as compact superconducting cyclotrons may also be attractive with regard to configuration on military platforms for generating protons in the tens of MeV energy range and, if scalable, the low GeV range. For acceleration of muons a critical component is the collector or cooling system needed to reduce the emittance of accelerator-produced muons so that they can be collected, injected and re-accelerated to the energies required for DTRA applications. PHASE I: Develop a design concept with a clearly defined Phase I to Phase II decision point that demonstrates the potential capability of realizing the objectives defined in this topic. The design concept should be benchmarked with data that validates its underlying assumptions. A clear Phase I to Phase II decision point must be part of the final delivery in Phase I along with a roadmap that takes the program through Phase III. PHASE II: Demonstrate the design concept proposed in Phase I. This demonstration must include a discussion of how this design will be developed in Phase III into a viable system to meet the defined program goals. Potential partners for production and future use of the developed technology along with a clear Phase II to Phase III decision point must be included along with a roadmap that takes the program through Phase III. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Industrial development strategy and full scale demonstration as part of a comprehensive accelerator development team. Dual use application would include compact accelerators for use in existing space-limited facilities and mobile medical facilities. EXAMPLES OF RELEVANT TECHNOLOGIES: Dielectric Wall Accelerator: Dielectric material capable of sustaining high electric field gradient; fast optical switching system Accelerator for muons: collection or cooling system to enable muons to be injected into a secondary accelerator system; design studies to support and significantly advance development of the muon collection or cooling system Critical, enabling components of laser wake-field accelerator concepts and Thompson back scatter particle accelerator technologies Critical, enabling technologies supporting development of high-gain superconducting or accelerator cavities Means to extend the accelerating path length for ultra high gradient accelerator concepts that require thin foils REFERENCES: 1. Knoll, G.F. Radiation Detection and Measurement. 2nd edition (2000). 2. McDaniel, Floyd D, et.al. The Application of Accelerators in Research and Industry (Proceedings of the Nineteenth International Conference on The Application of Accelerators in Reseasrch and Industry, Fort Worth, TX, USA. (2006). 3. Shemelin, Valery, Low Loss And High Gradient Sc Cavities With Different Wall Slope Angles, Proceedings of PAC07, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. 4. Wuensch, . W., et al., A Very-High-Gradient Test Of A 30 Ghz Single-Cell Cavity, Proceedings of EPAC 2000, Vienna, Austria. 5. Caporaso, G. J. et al., High Gradient Induction Accelerator, Proceedings of PAC07, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. 6. Hatchett, S. P., et al., Electron, Photon, And Ion Beams From The Relativistic Interaction of Petawatt Laser Pulses with Solid Targets, Physics of Plasmas Volume 7, Number 5 May 2000. 7. Esirkepov, T., et al., Highly Efficient Relativistic-Ion Generation in the Laser-Piston Regime, Phys. Rev. Letters 92(7), 30 April 2004.
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