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The first FAIR magnet delivered for testing at CERN

CERN test facility to test superconducting magnets of new GSI accelerator


FAIR Magnet in 180
The FAIR magnet in Building 180 (Image: CERN)

CERN puts its expertise at the service of other accelerators around the world. A few weeks ago, an unusually large package passed through CERN's gates: a set of two magnets weighing a total of 27 tonnes crossed the site to Building 180.

These magnets are the first to be tested as part of an agreement between CERN and GSI Darmstadt. About sixty will follow over the next five years. They are intended for the German laboratory's new particle separator (Super-FRS), a key component of the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR) for the study of exotic nuclei.

GSI will use CERN's expertise to validate these magnets. Three test benches, with a cryogenics system, have been specially set up. The new infrastructure is unconventional in that it must accommodate 7-metre-long magnets, weighing up to 60 tonnes and with large apertures, measuring up to 380 mm in diameter (for comparison, the LHC dipole magnets have an aperture of 56 mm in diameter). CERN and GSI have prepared the test facility and test devices and are working together on the commissioning. CERN will continue to provide technical support until the completion of the testing campaign.

The magnets that will pass through CERN will be either multiplets (sets of several magnets) or dipoles. "We will validate a total of 32 multiplets and 24 dipoles," says Lisette Van Den Boogaard, project manager at CERN. 

The multiplet arrangement makes the tests more complex. "Each magnet of the multiplet must first be tested alone, then the magnets must be tested together to evaluate their interactions”, say Hans Müller, superconducting magnets manager at GSI, and Kei Sugita, testing project manager at GSI.

During the next 18 months, two multiplets and one dipole will be delivered and tested at CERN. The magnets will then arrive at the rate of one every two to three weeks until 2023. The Super-FRS accelerator should be operational by 2025.

"The test facility will subsequently be suitable for other tests and will serve the vast community of physicists," concludes Lisette Van Den Boogaard.