Published on July 7 in The New York Times, cartoonist, author, engineer and physicist Randall Munroe, examines the physics of neutrinos while answering what it would take to create a neutrino "snowball." The science of if (and why) in this installment of "What If?" may surprise you.
Cryogenics is a core enabling technology at the European Spallation Source, a next-generation neutron-science facility under construction in Sweden. In a July 6 Physics World interview, Joe McEntee talks to John G. Weisend II, CSA board chairman and group leader for specialized technical services at ESS, about the secrets of success at ultralow temperatures.
On July 22, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (CSA CSM) simultaneously achieved two construction milestones: the groundbreaking for its PIP-II cryoplant building and the site dedication of the laboratory’s Integrated Engineering Research Center. The two projects help usher in a new era of science and support cutting-edge research, including the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, powered by the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility, which seeks answers to some of the biggest puzzles in physics by studying neutrinos.
Early this year, Ball Aerospace delivered a cryostat to the University of Arizona for NASA’s Galactic/Extragalactic Ultralong-Duration Balloon Spectroscopic Terahertz Observatory (GUSTO)—a long-duration balloon mission that will map out parts of the Milky Way and Large Magellanic Cloud galaxies to determine the life cycle of interstellar gas, witness the formation and destruction of star-forming clouds and understand the dynamics and gas flow in the vicinity of the center of the Milky Way. The Ball-built cryostat is a low heat leak dewar that contains liquid helium and is designed to keep the GUSTO instrument cool during the entire length of the planned balloon flight. Cold Facts spoke with Ball’s David Glaister, Cryogenics Department manager, and Gary Mills, GUSTO technical lead, regarding the cryostat development.
The CERN Council announced on June 19 their endorsement of the idea of building the Future Circular Collider—a new, larger circular supercollider. The move is the first step toward building a 100 TeV, 100-kilometer circumference collider around Geneva. As part of the vote, the group also approved the launch of a technical and financial feasibility study for the new collider. Initial estimates suggest the project would cost approximately $24.4 billion.
On July 23, Nikola Corporation, a global transportation company specializing in zero-emission vehicles and infrastructure solutions, broke ground on a 1 million-square-foot manufacturing facility in Coolidge AZ. The future zero-emission facility, sitting on approximately 430 acres, will have the capacity to produce 35,000 Class 8 commercial semi-trucks annually, with the goal of producing hydrogen fuel cells at the plant by 2023.
Part of the USA Science & Engineering Festival, SciFest All Access will take place online from September 16-23, 2020. Attendees of all ages will be able to engage directly with sponsors and exhibitors to experience 100+ virtual STEM activities. This free virtual event will be a graphical depiction of the live Festival to include exhibitor booths, pavilions, videos, games and more.
Based on a program developed in partnership with two local high school educators, three Fermilab (CSA CSM) researchers are offering their high school level quantum computing class outline free of charge. The module, a first of its kind in the US, encourages students ages 15-18 to "learn about quantum concepts including superposition, qubits, encryption, quantum measurement, entanglement, teleportation and their real-world applications,” according to the course description.
An Australian study headed by Swinburne University and published in late March in Physical Review Letters examines the propagation of energy as sound waves in a quantum gas, revealing for the first time strong variations in the nature of sound waves as a function of temperature. Sound waves reveal the unique properties of an ultracold quantum gas, a model system for describing certain superconductors and forms of nuclear matter.
ASA’s Cold Atom Laboratory, a facility for fundamental physics experiments on the International Space Station, underwent a major hardware upgrade with the help of astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir in January. By chilling atom clouds to just above absolute zero—the lowest temperature matter can reach—Cold Atom Lab enables scientists to directly observe unique atomic behaviors, helping answer questions about how our world works at the smallest scales. The new hardware will dramatically expand Cold Atom Lab’s capabilities.
In February at CERN, a demonstrator magnet using superconducting niobium-tin, cooled to 1.9 kelvins achieved a peak magnetic field of 16.5 tesla on the conductor, exceeding the previous record of 16.2 tesla from 2015. The demonstrator, known as an enhanced Racetrack Model Coil (eRMC) magnet, consists of two superimposed flat coils in the shape of a racetrack, hence its name. The coils are produced using a cable composed of multifilament composite wire made of niobium-tin, a superconductor that can reach higher magnetic fields than the niobium-titanium superconductor currently used for the magnets of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The dipole magnets in the LHC operate at a nominal field of 8.3 tesla.
On May 26, the soup-bowl-shaped base of the ITER cryostat was gradually lifted from its frame, carried across the Assembly Hall to the Tokamak Building and eventually lowered into the Tokamak assembly pit. In a delicate lifting operation, the cryostat base descended into the deep concrete cylinder of the tokamak pit—positioned within millimeter accuracy—into its support system. The achievement marked the culmination of a ten-year effort to design, manufacture, deliver, assemble and weld one of the most crucial components of the ITER machine—the 30-meter-high, 30-meter-in-diameter ITER cryostat, of which the base is only one part. The cryostat will act as a thermos, insulating the magnetic system at cryogenic temperatures from the outside environment.
Beginning last year, AFCryo (CSA CSM), a division of Fabrum Solutions, and Cryomech (CSA CSM) worked collaboratively to design and supply a helium recovery system and a liquid nitrogen generation system at the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) laboratory at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. While both companies produce cryocoolers and liquefaction equipment, the two realized that collaborative effort was the right approach. Together, they selected, designed and installed the right technology for the varied applications within the project to deliver a full laboratory solution.