LHC collides ions at new record energy

After the successful restart of the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and its first months of data taking with proton collisions at a new energy frontier, the LHC is moving to a new phase, with the first lead-ion collisions of Run 2 at an energy about twice as high as that of any previous collider experiment. Following a period of intense activity to reconfigure the LHC and its chain of accelerators for heavy ion beams, CERN's accelerator specialists put the beams into collision for the first time on November 17, and "stable beams" were declared the morning of November 25. This marks the start of a one-month run with positively charged lead ions—lead ions stripped of electrons.

Authorities call for regulation of cryotherapy

Investigation into the recent death of Chelsea Ake-Salvacion in a liquid nitrogen cryotherapy chamber at RejuvenIce in Henderson NV points to oxygen deprivation as the cause of death. In the wake of this tragic accident, authorities are calling for steps to regulate the use of cryotherapy, which has recently been gaining in popularity in the US.

LCLS researchers discover new dimension to high temperature superconductivity

A team led by scientists at the US Dept. of Energy (DOE)’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory observed a new type of "charge density wave" after combining powerful magnetic pulses with some of the brightest X-rays on the planet. The resulting 3-D effect appears closely linked to high temperature superconductivity, though its coexistence with superconductivity is perplexing to researchers because it seems to conflict with the freely moving electron pairs that define superconductivity.

Obituary: Former BCC Chairman Harry Jones

Professor Harry (Henry) Jones died on August 24, 2015, at 70 years of age. He was a professor of condensed matter physics at the Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford University, where he worked for 44 years until his retirement in 2012. Jones also led the High Magnetic Fields and Superconductivity Group, the de facto the UK National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, for almost 30 years and was chairman of the British Cryogenics Council (BCC) from 2005 to 2014.

New superconducting transistors remain superconducting even in strong magnetic fields

Scientists have used molybdenum sulfide to create superconducting transistors that remain superconducting even under powerful magnetic fields that normally destroy the effect. "We have found a superconducting state that is super-robust against magnetic fields," says Justin Ye, a physicist at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands and co-author of the study published in the journal Science. The research could lead to more robust quantum computers and to ultrasensitive magnetic sensors that can operate even in extremely high magnetic fields.

Georgia Tech researchers use ultra cold chemistry to study atoms

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have received a $900,000 grant from the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research to study the unusual chemical and physical properties of atoms and molecules at micro-kelvin or nano-kelvin temperature ranges approaching absolute zero, the temperature at which all thermal activity stops. Atoms and molecules move much slower at extreme low temperatures and have different kinds of interactions. The experiment will explore the formation of novel types of molecular aggregates at these temperatures and could therein help provide a better understanding of the reaction processes underlying strongly correlated atoms and molecular quantum systems in conditions unlike those seen in conventional chemistry.

Cosmological simulation models birth of universe

Researchers led by scientists at the US Department of Energy's (DOE's) Argonne National Laboratory have performed one of the largest cosmological simulations ever. Run on the Titan supercomputer at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the simulation modeled the evolution of the universe from just 50 million years after the Big Bang to the present day—from its earliest infancy to its current adulthood. These kinds of simulations help scientists understand dark energy, a form of energy that affects the expansion rate of the universe, including the distribution of galaxies, composed of ordinary matter, as well as dark matter, a mysterious kind of matter that no instrument has directly measured so far.

Fermilab attains unprecedented quality factor for superconducting cavity

Fermilab announced November 6 that researchers had recorded a record-high quality factor while performing integrated tests on a new superconducting radio frequency cavity for the SLAC-headed Linac Coherent Light Source II project. Quality factor (Q) is a measure of a particle acceleration cavity's efficiency. A higher Q means a cavity is losing less energy and is therein more cost-effective.

MicroBooNE detects accelerator-born neutrinos

The MicroBooNE collaboration announced on November 2 that its researchers had recorded neutrinos for the first time. The sighting marks the beginning of detailed studies of these fundamental particles whose properties could be linked to dark matter, matter’s dominance over antimatter in the universe and the evolution of the entire cosmos since the Big Bang. It also brings researchers closer to one of the project's scientific goals, determining whether an excess of low energy events observed in a previous Fermilab experiment was the footprint of a sterile neutrino or a new type of background.

Fountain Pumps and He II Phase Separators

Helium II (He II), the second liquid phase of the 4He isotope described in this column in Cold Facts Spring 2010 (http://2csa.us/he2), can be modeled as consisting of two interpenetrating fluids. One, the superfluid component, has zero viscosity and entropy and the other, the normal fluid component, has nonzero viscosity and entropy. Research has shown … Continue reading Fountain Pumps and He II Phase Separators

Layered Thermal Insulation Systems for Below-Ambient Temperature Applications

With increasing system control and reliability requirements as well as demands for higher energy efficiencies, thermal insulation in extreme environments is a growing challenge prompting the publication of new technical consensus standards for cryogenic insulation testing and multilayer insulation (MLI) systems. Different layered thermal insulation systems such as MLI and Layered Composite Insulation have been developed for industrial and commercial applications, and a new Layered Composite Extreme system has potential for broader industrial industrial use as well as for commercial applications.

Understanding Multilayer Insulation for Large Spacecraft Cryogenics and Upper Stages

The current exploration plan for NASA includes towing an asteroid into lunar orbit and having astronauts visit it to gain experience with new technologies and methodologies for human exploration of the solar system. While this mission does not need the super high thermal performing insulation of a Martian mission, it does need more than the spray-on foam insulation that has been applied to the Saturn V space shuttle's external tank and multiple expendable launch vehicles. As such, NASA has established a plan to develop multilayer insulation for large spacecraft and upper stage mission durations between several hours and several days.

Cryogenic Safety for Space Launch Vehicles During Ground Operations

United Launch Alliance launches Atlas V from Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg Air Force launch facilities, and large quantities of cryogenic propellants are stored on-site. These propellants present leak, fire and explosion hazards throughout their handling, starting from the commercial transport trailers' arrival at the launch pad and continuing through storage tank filling, propellant transfer to the launch vehicle and prelaunch operations until lift-off. Range Safety regulations provide safety requirements for hardware, software and operations to ensure safety throughout the ground processing.

Cryogenic Safety: An Introduction

The scope of cryogenics is vast, but in all its forms, cryogenics presents unique safety hazards, including issues associated with extreme cold, flammability, enhanced combustion due to the presence of liquid oxygen and oxygen displacement caused by gases boiling off from cryogenic liquids. Despite these hazards, if certain guidelines and procedures are followed, work at cryogenic temperatures can be performed safely.