Remembering Helen Edwards

Helen Edwards, distinguished and highly regarded scientist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (CSA CSM), died on June 21 at the age of 80. Edwards was the leader in the design, construction, commissioning and operation of the Tevatron collider. In recent years she made significant contributions to the development of high-gradient, superconducting linear accelerators as well as bright and intense electron sources.

Brookhaven Powers Magnet Idle for Eight Years

A team of physicists and engineers at the US Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory has completed preliminary tests of a 20-ton cylindrical magnet that could form the heart of an upgraded particle detector at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC). The goal was to see if the superconducting solenoid was in working order after having sat idle for eight years before traveling cross-country from California to Brookhaven last year.

Cryogenic Systems, from LHC to FCC

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) features one of the largest cryogenic systems in the world. Cryogenics plays an indispensable role in applied superconductivity, and the development of cryogenics for accelerators has allowed researchers to efficiently cool both the high-field magnets presently used at the LHC and also those being developed by researchers working on the Future Circular Collider (FCC) study.

Zika Fear Heats Up, Cure Sought in Cold

North America is welcoming summer and with it the increased fear of a pronounced expansion of Zika from its southern neighbors. In April, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) held a summit to formulate an action plan against the virus and shortly thereafter began issuing statements, including steps to prevent occupational exposure and a controversial proposal that asked women to postpone planned pregnancies. No vaccine currently exists to prevent the spread of Zika, but scientists at facilities across the world are busy studying the virus, many of them with cryogenic systems.

A Cryogenic Valve Primer

It is remarkable but true that we’ve used valves to control the flow of liquids for thousands of years. The city of Pompeii’s water system, for example, utilized quarter-turn style valves that were in principle very similar to those in use today. Cryogenic valves, while unique, are similar to these age-old designs, only modified to accept extremely low temperatures. Many of the modifications in low temperature cryogenic valves resulted from work done by NASA when the US began space exploration in the 1960s.

Air Liquide Designing Cryogenic System for ITER

Air Liquide has substantial expertise in designing, fabricating and installing large capacity gas liquefaction and refrigeration systems. Its engineers have completed major cryogenic installations, for example, at CERN and KSTAR (the South Korean Tokamak) and are now working on ITER, providing the project with a centralized helium cryogenic plant and other systems.

Forget Nitro Brew Coffee, Meet Nitro Bean

The perfect roast for your next cup of joe might just come from liquid nitrogen chilled coffee beans. A team from the University of Bath, working with the Bath coffee shop Colonna & Smalls, reports that chilling roasted beans before grinding results in small uniform coffee grinds. This provides for better extraction of flavor compounds, according to the researchers, and thus allows baristas to brew more coffee and get more flavor from the same amount of coffee.

LIGO Detects Gravitational Waves for a Second Time

Scientists from the LIGO Scientific Collaboration have observed gravitational waves for a second time, according to an announcement made on June 15 during the 228th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in San Diego. The detection of the waves—ripples in the fabric of spacetime—was made on Dec. 25 by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston LA and Hanford WA, and thereafter confirmed and analyzed by scientists from the LIGO and Virgo Collaborations prior to the announcement.

EMIR Spectrograph Installed on Gran Telescopio CANARIAS

Engineers at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory have attached the EMIR spectrograph to the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (GTC), realizing a more than decade long design and fabrication process. The cryogenic instrument was designed, built, assembled and verified entirely at the IAC (Astrophysics Institute of Canrias). It will produce images and perform spectroscopy in the near infrared region, allowing researchers to observe the coldest and most distant objects in the universe.

New Low-Defect Method to Nitrogen Dope Graphene Results in Tunable Bandstructure

An interdisciplinary team of scientists at the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Electronics Science and Technology and Materials Science and Technology Divisions has demonstrated hyperthermal ion implantation (HyTII) as an effective means of substitutionally doping graphene—a hexagonally-arranged single-atomic thickness carbon sheet—with nitrogen atoms. The result is a low-defect film with a tunable bandstructure amenable to a variety of device platforms and applications.

SLAC Testing Prototype Dark Matter Detector

Prototyping of a new, ultrasensitive “eye” for dark matter is making rapid progress at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, according to researchers and engineers who have installed a small-scale version of the future LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) detector to test, develop and troubleshoot various aspects of its technology. When LZ goes online in early 2020 at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota, researchers hope it will detect so-called weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs), hypothetical particles believed to make up dark matter, the invisible substance that accounts for 85 percent of all matter in the universe.

Spinning Electrons Yield Positrons for Research

Using the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) (CSA CSM), a team of researchers has, for the first time, demonstrated a new technique for producing polarized positrons. The method could enable new research in advanced materials and offers a new avenue for producing polarized positron beams for a proposed International Linear Collider and an envisioned Electron-Ion Collider.