European Spallation Source, Italian-made ion source inaugurated in Lund
The Italian-made ion source has been inaugurated in Lund, Sweden. This is a significant step in the development of the European Spallation Source-ESS, the world’s leading facility for research using neutrons.
It is the first major technical component commissioned at ESS and built in Italy. The ion source was inaugurated in the Swedish city by the Italian President Sergio Mattarella and the King and Queen of Sweden. During the event, the guests and the Italian and Swedish delegations visited the accelerator tunnel, the building that houses the ion source and the LEBT (Low Energy Beam Transport Line).
The European Spallation Source is a partnership that brings together various European countries with the aim of funding and building a research infrastructure enabling research in a wide range of fields, from materials science to energy, from health to the environment, addressing some of the most important societal challenges of our time.
The partnership member countries also participate through the so-called in-kind contributions: that is providing technical equipment and personnel. Italy’s in-kind contributions to ESS are coordinated by the National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN): an internationally recognized research institution for its scientific and technical expertise in the sector of particle accelerators. In particular, the ion source is the result of an effort led by the INFN Southern National Laboratories, started in 2012.
“Thanks to its expertise and experience, and with effective teamwork led by the Southern National Laboratories in Catania, INFN has made a contribution of excellence to ESS. The advanced technologies necessary to create the ion source and the LEBT were also an opportunity for innovation in frontier physics research that Italian industries have once again managed to seize”, pointed out Speranza Falciano, Vice President of INFN.
Once the infrastructure is completed, the ESS linear accelerator will deliver a high intensity proton beam to a target, where the neutrons will be generated.
This process starts in the ion source, with the production of the plasma from which the protons will be extracted and led into the first part of the accelerator, the LEBT. Here, the particle beam will be analyzed, optimized and focused before acceleration begins in the next part of the accelerator, the Radio Frequency Quadrupole (RFQ), which will be delivered by the French partner CEA in 2019.
The infrastructure will open to researchers in 2023.