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LINACs in all (linear) shapes and sizes

| 4 September 2014

A pleanary session during the LINAC14 meeting. Image: W. Grossiord for Linac14

While the linear collider community is working on the most viable technologies for the two linacs that will one day accelerate electron and positrons efficiently, more than 200 linear accelerators – linacs – are already in use at research institutions around the world. Nearly 500 representatives from both operating and planned linear accelerators are meeting in Geneva these days  to catch up on the latest news concerning linacs of all shapes (providing it’s linear) and sizes. Electron linacs, proton linacs, ion linacs; superconducting linacs, normal-conducting linacs, low-energy linacs, high-energy linacs… it’s all being covered at LINAC14 .

The conference is held every two years and started this year with a talk by LCC Director for CLIC Steinar Stapnes on linear collider studies. “The focus of the conference is on new technologies,” says the chair of the local organising committee, Maurizio Vretenar from CERN, who is the project leader of CERN’s LINAC4 and coordinator of a EU-funded accelerator R&D project. “How can we make power sources more efficient and reach higher gradients in the linacs? What coatings and materials are most promising? These are the questions that we address.”

Another challenge currently being tackled by the experts is the breakdown of accelerating cavities. They are trying to find out what leads to the breakdown to be able reaching higher gradients and reduce the size of future accelerating facilities.

Every talk at the conference was related to linear accelerators, but some had a more direct connection to the linear collider – for example Sam Posen’s talk on niobium-3-tin and its “Present Status and Potential as an Alternative SRF Material”, Alexander Romanenko on “Breakthrough Technology for Very High Quality Factors in SRF Cavities” or Jacek Swierblewski on large-scale testing of SRF cavities and modules for the European XFEL.


Did you know that there are more than 8000 linacs in operation around the world? The majority are used for industrial and medical applications. Only a small fraction are “scientific linacs” for research and accelerator R&D.


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