Fermilab will test and develop superconducting radio frequency cavities, a key technology for next-generation accelerators and the future of particle physics.
Made out of a superconducting material, such as niobium, the hollow cavities sit inside vessels called cryomodules and get chilled to near absolute zero. The ultra-cold temperatures allow the SRF cavities to conduct electric current with almost no loss of energy, meaning that nearly all of the electrical energy goes into accelerating the beam.
Plans call for Fermilab to purchase around 40 SRF cavities and other cryomodule components from U.S. vendors, helping U.S. industry develop the capabilities they need to become competitive manufacturers of SRF components.
Fermilab will also build a cryogenic plant at the New Muon Laboratory to cool cryomodules to minus 271 degrees Celsius. Other items Fermilab will purchase include a high-temperature oven and additional systems to test the capability and quality of SRF cavities. All of this infrastructure will enable Fermilab to evolve into one of the most advanced SRF R&D centers in the world.
SRF cavities have become the technology of choice for many proposed accelerator-based projects, including the proposed Project X, International Linear Collider and a muon collider, because of their highly efficient ability to accelerate beams of particles. Physicists expect that SRF technology has potential applications in medicine, energy and material science.