Testing begins for a new super magnet that consumes zero electrical power.
Testing has begun at Diamond Light Source for an energy-saving super-magnet, designed and built by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), for our next generation of particle accelerator.
Particle accelerators are responsible for some of our greatest scientific breakthroughs in history, such as the discovery of the Higgs boson at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.
The world needs these powerful and highly complex machines to enable research that is essential for developing important green technologies, such as better solar cells and more efficient batteries.
Beaming at the speed of light
One particle accelerator can use thousands of high-power, tuneable electromagnets to bend and focus a beam through the machine, close to the speed of light. However, these consume vast amounts of electricity to operate and cool.
Designed by scientists and engineers at STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, at Sci-Tech Daresbury, the zero power tuneable optics magnet (ZEPTO) is a permanent, tuneable magnet that consumes zero electrical power.
ZEPTO offers the same flexibility as an electromagnet but does not require power to produce a magnetic field, which could save dramatically on the cost and scale of future particle accelerators.
The Diamond test
Energy consumption and the associated financial and environmental cost are key challenges faced when building a next generation particle accelerator.
ZEPTO’s successful commissioning at Diamond, the UK’s national synchrotron accelerator, kicks off a year-long demonstrator to confirm that it is as reliable and robust as a conventional electromagnet.
During the test, 1 magnet is expected to save an estimated 136kg of carbon dioxide compared with a conventional electromagnet, with the carbon payback anticipated to be within a year of operation.