Materials for Accelerator Technologies Beyond the Niobium Family

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Three niobium-based materials make up the entire present portfolio of superconducting technology for accelerators: Nb-Ti and Nb{sub 3}Sn magnet wires and pure niobium for RF cavities. Because these materials are at a high level of maturity, limits imposed by the boundaries of their superconductivity constrain the energy reach of accelerators to several TeV. We sketch here a plan for targeted development of emerging higher field and higher temperature superconductors that could enable accelerators at significantly higher energies. Niobium-based superconductors are the crucial enablers of present accelerators. The Nb-Ti LHC dipole and quadrupole wires, with transition temperature T{sub c} of 9 ... continued below

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4 pages

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Cooley, Lance; Larbalestier, David; Ghosh, Arup; Tollestrup, Alvin & /Fermilab January 1, 2009.

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Three niobium-based materials make up the entire present portfolio of superconducting technology for accelerators: Nb-Ti and Nb{sub 3}Sn magnet wires and pure niobium for RF cavities. Because these materials are at a high level of maturity, limits imposed by the boundaries of their superconductivity constrain the energy reach of accelerators to several TeV. We sketch here a plan for targeted development of emerging higher field and higher temperature superconductors that could enable accelerators at significantly higher energies. Niobium-based superconductors are the crucial enablers of present accelerators. The Nb-Ti LHC dipole and quadrupole wires, with transition temperature T{sub c} of 9 K and upper critical field H{sub c2} of 15 T, represent the highest form of superconductor strand art: massive, quarter-ton conductor billets are drawn from 300 mm diameter to {approx}1 mm as a single, multi-kilometer-long piece, while retaining uniformity of the several thousand Nb-Ti filaments to within 5% at the scale of a few micrometers. Strands are twisted into fully transposed cables with virtually no loss, preserving a carefully tuned nanostructure that generates the high flux-pinning forces and high current densities to enable high magnetic fields. Nb{sub 3}Sn, with twice the T{sub c} and H{sub c2}, is now approaching this level of conductor art, where over the last 5 years the LHC Accelerator Research Program (LARP) and the Next European Dipole (NED) program have demonstrated that Nb{sub 3}Sn can be made into 4 meter long quadrupoles with 12 T fields and 250 T/m gradients. Linear accelerators at TJNAF, ORNL (SNS), and under construction for the European XFEL exploit niobium superconducting radio-frequency (SRF) technology, with gradients at {approx}20 MV/m. Tremendous research and development is underway to realize high-power goals for Project X at FNAL and for a possible ILC at 35 MV/m gradients. Despite these impressive achievements, the very maturity of these niobium-based technologies makes them incapable of additional leaps from the several-TeV scale. Nb-Ti is already nearly perfect and operates at the limit of the superconducting phase. Further perfection of Nb cavities and Nb{sub 3}Sn magnets might provide 50 % growth in energy, based on proof-of-principle demonstrations that approach theoretical limits, e.g. 52 MV/m gradient in re-entrant Nb cavities and 18 T dipoles made from Nb3Sn strand. However, operation close to superconducting margins is risky, and cost tradeoffs to execute such a high degrees of perfection are likely to be negative.

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4 pages

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  • Report No.: FERMILAB-FN-0846-TD
  • Grant Number: AC02-07CH11359
  • DOI: 10.2172/970997 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 970997
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc934682

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • January 1, 2009

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Nov. 29, 2016, 7:27 p.m.

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Cooley, Lance; Larbalestier, David; Ghosh, Arup; Tollestrup, Alvin & /Fermilab. Materials for Accelerator Technologies Beyond the Niobium Family, report, January 1, 2009; Batavia, Illinois. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc934682/: accessed October 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.