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Additive-Manufactured Superconductor Phase Shifters

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0019613
Agency Tracking Number: 242618
Amount: $149,998.66
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 10a
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0001940
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-02-19
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-02-18
Small Business Information
15985 NW Schendel Avenue Suite 200
Beaverton, OR 97006-6703
United States
DUNS: 124348652
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Peter Hugger
 (971) 223-5646
Business Contact
 Debra Ozuna
Phone: (971) 223-5646
Research Institution

Statement of the problem: If high‐quality phase shifters can be made rapidly and inexpensively, it will enable substantial improvements in free electron lasers (FELs) performance and benefit the exploration of atomic and molecular science. X‐ray FELs now use permanent magnetic undulators to produce x‐ray light by wiggling high‐ energy bunches of electrons in alternating magnetic fields, with permanent magnet phase shifters to tune and enhance the power and resolution of the x‐ray beam. Each phase shifter must be custom‐tuned to achieve the electron delay necessary to achieve high spectral purity and, hence, narrow beam width and high power density, and this is difficult with permanent magnets. General statement of how this problem is being addressed: Voxtel proposes to improve FEL x‐ray performance by developing compact superconductor electromagnets (SCEM) with magnetic fields that are easily varied to reduce the electron bunch width and hence the x‐ray beam pulse while improving the x‐ray beam power. Our approach to overcoming the limitations of the existing permanent magnet phase‐shifter technology is to use custom‐engineered superconducting nanocomposite materials and freeform additive manufacturing processes. The ability to engineer high‐performance solution‐based superconducting, magnetic, and dielectric nanocomposites suitable for drop‐on‐ demand jetting, and the ability to use additive manufacturing to tailor device performance via heterogeneous composition of its volume and shape, allows us to fabricate compact, high‐performance phase shifters. What is to be done in Phase I: We will create superconductor nanocomposites, then use inkjet‐print additive‐ manufacturing processes to fabricate heterogeneous‐composition SCEM phase shifters, ~3 – 5‐cm in size, with a magnetic flux of 1T and a current density > 20 amps/mm2—almost four orders of magnitude below the 25 x 104 A/mm2 current density limits of the nanocomposites. We will also demonstrate the innovation’s magnetic performance and rapid modification of phase shifters for new experiments and replacement parts. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The proposed additive‐manufactured superconductor technology increases the power and resolution of FEL high‐energy physics experiments. The field of high‐energy physics is guided by intertwined science drivers to explore the elementary constituents of matter and energy, the interactions between them, and the nature of space and time. Our development of an SCEM‐based phase shifter for FEL‐based experiments supports the Office of High Energy Physics (HEP) Accelerator Stewardship mission with an innovative solution to a critical problem in support of advancing experimental scientific discovery and related efforts in theory. Particle accelerators can provide transformational capabilities in the fields of energy and environment, medicine, industry, national security, and discovery science. Experts from across the spectrum of accelerator applications recognize opportunities and challenges for particle beams in these fields. Significant advances in accelerator technology have been driven by particle physicists as a means to enable their discovery science with HEP supporting the experts and infrastructure that make these advances possible. Experiments exploring proteins that are key to drug design, exotic materials relevant to electronics and energy applications, and chemistry that is central to industrial processes like fuel production will be higher quality (with greater resolution) and more accessible (with lower cost and less delay between experiments). Because of the low‐cost and facile additive‐manufacturing process used to create these SCEMs, our research also helps make superior‐quality accelerator technology widely available to science and industry. This community, working on problems with ion beam therapy for cancer, laser technologies for accelerators, and energy and environmental applications for accelerators, will benefit from the improved clarity of atomic‐scale structures and wide availability of the improved capability.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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