Tengming Shen Wins Cryogenic Society of America’s Roger W. Boom Award, Presented at ASC

by Joseph Chew, communications generalist, ATAP Division – Berkeley Lab, JTChew@lbl.gov

Dr. Tengming Shen, staff scientist, Division of Accelerator Technology and Applied Physics at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has been awarded the Roger W. Boom Award by the Cryogenics Society of America. The award was presented November 4 at the virtual 2020 Applied Superconductivity Conference.

The Roger W. Boom Award was given to Dr. Tengming Shen for his outstanding research on high temperature (high-Tc) superconducting (HTS) materials and magnets, especially for his contributions to “understanding the Bi-2212 round wire technology, improving its critical current density by intelligent processing, and demonstrating its excellent properties in prototype accelerator magnets.” He has also been active with educating and mentoring young research engineers including underrepresented groups within a US Department of Energy national lab setting.

Shen and his team are working to transform high-Tc superconducting materials into practical magnet conductors in order to build a spectrum of powerful superconducting magnets impossible with low-Tc superconductors such as niobium-titanium (Nb-Ti) and niobium-three-tin (Nb3Sn). One goal is to use these new materials to build a high field accelerator dipole that is 2.5 times more powerful than the 8.3 T Nb-Ti LHC main dipole by taking advantage of their excellent ability to carry high current amid high magnetic fields (up to 100 T at 4.2 K). The work, if successful, will likely also open new avenues to building magnets similar in power to Nb-Ti and Nb3Sn magnets but operating at 20-77 K, potentially cheaper to operate than Nb-Ti and Nb3Sn magnets, which typically work at the liquid helium temperatures of 1.8 or 4.2 K.

To effectively generate magnetic fields, practical superconductors need to carry a high engineering current density, Je, of 600 A/mm2 over long lengths. (Je=Ic/A: the critical current of the super­conductor divided by the cross section of the composite superconducting wire.) Shen and his collaborators have succeeded in understanding microstructures and mechanisms that control Ic in superconducting wires of Bi-2212 (the only multifilamentary high temperature superconducting cuprate round wire). Leveraging an industry, university and national lab collaboration under the framework of ATAP-headquartered US Magnet Development Program, the team recently improved the Je of Bi-2212 industrial wires to 1000 A/mm2 at 4.2 K and 27 T and demonstrated that high Je and excellent quench properties are possible with coils fabricated from high current Bi-2212 Rutherford cables. They are building prototype accelerator magnets using a canted-cosine-theta design developed by Dr. Shlomo Caspi and colleagues at the Superconducting Magnet Program.

His (several) other current endeavors include collaborating with Composite Technology Development, Inc., in Colorado and Fermilab (both CSA CSMs) to develop advanced resin and insulation technologies for Nb3Sn accelerator magnets, collaborating with Berkeley Lab’s National Center for Electron Microscopy and the University of California, Berkeley, to develop 1 K superconducting electron microscopes, collaborating with Brookhaven National Lab and Japanese colleagues at KEK and Kyoto University to develop HTS magnets for high radiation environment and collaborating with an ATAP team led by Dr. Lucas Brouwer to develop achromatic, cryogen-free high-Tc magnets for proton therapy gantries.

Shen is a former Peoples Fellow at Fermilab and recipient of a prestigious early career award from the US Department of Energy Office of High Energy Physics. He received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Florida State University in 2010 with thesis work done at the Applied Superconductivity Center of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (CSA CSM).

The Roger W. Boom Award is named in honor of the late emeritus professor from the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Boom’s career spanned more than thirty years, during which he motivated a great number of young scientists and engineers to pursue careers in cryogenic engineering and applied superconductivity. This award was created by CSA to be given every even-numbered year to a young professional (under 40 years of age) who “shows promise for making significant contributions to the fields of cryogenic engineering and applied superconductivity. The spirit of the Boom Award is to recognize young people for their pursuit of excellence, demonstration of high standards and clear communications.” More information about the award and past awardees can be found at https://cryogenicsociety.org/about_csa/awards.