FETS completion

Lead Research Organisation: Royal Holloway, University of London
Department Name: Physics


Protons, subatomic particles that are one of the building blocks of matter, can be given large amounts of energy by passing through a machine called a proton accelerator. Such high energy protons can be used in a wide variety of applications, from the production of radioisotopes for the treatment of disease, to the investigation of the structure of matter that benefits both industry and science. The first step in any proton accelerator complex is the so-called proton driver. The Front End Test Stand (FETS), being built at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in the UK, is a project to create a new state-of-the-art proton driver that will be needed in order to provide proton accelerators with more intense, higher energy beams for future applications.

The FETS produces a beam of negatively-charged hydrogen ions that is chopped up into smaller bunches. This chopping is needed in order to make it safer and easier to accelerate the protons that are obtained by removing the electrons from the hydrogen ion beam. The FETS collaboration involves a dedicated team of scientists and engineers from the UK, and has stimulated collaborations with leading international accelerator institutes such as CERN, FNAL, ESS and CNS.

In this proposal, we seek to complete the construction of the FETS in a timely manner. The hydrogen ion source and initial beam focusing components have already been built and successfully commissioned. The remaining work is to install, test and commission the accelerating structures and chopper systems, and to evaluate the performace of the complete test stand. Upon successful completion of this project, the FETS can be used as a proton driver for further developments in proton accelerator systems for a wide range of applications in industry, medicine and science.

Planned Impact

The Front End Test Stand (FETS) under construction at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) is the UK's contribution to research into the next generation of High Power Proton Accelerators (HPPAs). HPPAs are an essential part of any future Spallation Neutron Source, Neutrino Factory, Muon Collider, Accelerator Driven Sub-critical System, Waste Transmuter etc. FETS will demonstrate a high quality, high intensity, chopped H-minus beam and is a collaboration between RAL, Imperial College, Royal Holloway University of London, University College London and the University of Warwick in the UK, as well as the Universidad del Pais Vasco and ESS-Bilbao in Spain.

Beam chopping will be an important feature of the next generation of HPPAs. The requirement to minimise the need for remote handling of accelerator components dictates that beam loss in future machines must be kept to levels comparable to those of current facilities in order to avoid activation. With beam powers an order of magnitude or more than those currently achieved, fractional beam loss must necessarily be reduced by a similar factor. The FETS project will be able to demonstrate the techology required for beam chopping in future HPPAs.

Originally conceived simply as a chopper beam test, the FETS has since expanded its objectives to become a generic test stand for technologies related to the front end of several proposed projects which require a high-power proton driver, as mentioned above. A secondary objective of FETS was to encourage the study of accelerator technology by a new generation of accelerator engineers and physicists in UK universities. The quality of the work being produced by the (mostly) young team working on FETS is testament to the success of this objective. FETS has also resulted in a fruitful collaboration between RAL/ISIS and the ESS-Bilbao project in Spain. The exchange of ideas, experience and hardware is proving extremely beneficial to both sides. The work undertaken has contributed to the UK's continuing international reputation as a centre of excellence and has stimulated collaborations with leading international accelerator institutes such as CERN, FNAL, ESS and CNS.


10 25 50
Description Development of advanced laserwire accelerator diagnostics and laser controlled particle beams
Amount £194,532 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/P003028/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2018 
End 12/2020
Description FETS completion
Amount £201,377 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/N001753/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2015 
End 05/2017
Description Royal Holloway - CERN Collaboration 
Organisation European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)
Department Beam Instrumentation Group
Country Switzerland 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution A fruitful collaboration with CERN was initiated to develop a laserwire system, built at Royal Holloway and tested in the CERN Linac4 beamline. In addition to contributing the laserbeam delivery hardware, RHUL helped to train and supervise a CERN based PhD student.
Collaborator Contribution CERN provided the Linac4 beam line facility and supporting infrastructure. CERN also donated stripline Beam Position Monitors for the FETS project and readout electronic card designs, that has saved many months of development work.
Impact The collaboration has results in many conference proceedings and two journal papers to date on the laserwire studies. RHUL signed a formal collaboration agreement directly with the CERN Beam Instrumentation group in 2015, to support future work.
Start Year 2013
Description Kendrick Girls' School Careers Event, 15 Oct 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact In October 2015, I represented Royal Holloway, Particle Physics and Accelerators, at Kendrick Schools Design Your Future Careers Event. I enthused numerous pupils and parents visiting my stand with demonstrations of electrostatic particle acceleration, related to my research on FETS and CERN, and spoke about career opportunities in Physics, personally meeting with well over 100 students in one evening.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.kendrick.reading.sch.uk/kendrick-school-design-your-future-careers-event/
Description Star Wars article for the Student Room, Dec 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact To coincide with the launch of the new Star Wars movie, I wrote a short article that was published on The Student Room to engage with the student users of this forum. The site is extremely popular with prospective students and applicants. The light-hearted article explores the physics of constructing a light sabre and how this relates to my own research in laserwires for accelerators at FETS and CERN. Feedback has been very positive: "It is pitched to the audience extremely well and makes for a very interesting read. Given the popularity of The Student Room, this should gain considerable views and help to raise the profile of the department across the forum. Thanks again for submitting such great content!"
Anne Uttley, Science Communication Manager at RHUL said "There was a strong response to Stephen's Star wars light sabre story - 23,000 reach and 800 engagements with 600 clicks on our Facebook site on top of all the interest it attracted on The Student Room." (The Student Room received 1203 views and had an average dwell time of 1 min 47 seconds).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/content.php?r=21445-Is-building-your-own-lightsaber-possible