Advanced Superconducting Test Accelerator

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Fermilab's Advanced Superconducting Test Accelerator is America's only test bed for cutting-edge particle beams and for accelerator research aimed at Intensity Frontier proton accelerators. ASTA will also be unique in the United States as a particle beam research facility based on superconducting radio-frequency technology, on which nearly all proposed future accelerators in the world are based.


The science enabled by ASTA is driven by these important areas of research:

High-intensity beams

Future high-intensity-beam experiments require powerful accelerators with precise control of beam losses and mitigation of beam-intensity-limiting phenomena. ASTA's Integrable Optics Test Accelerator ring will enable the study and exploration of new methods for overcoming intensity-limiting phenomena in accelerators. IOTA will be 38 meters in circumference and will operate with both electrons and protons. It will also employ novel magnet technology for nonlinear beam accelerators and innovative techniques to compensate for detrimental beam effects.

High-energy beams

The next high-energy accelerator requires technologies not previously used in colliders. ASTA will enable the exploration and demonstration of critical technologies and methods central to these new projects. ASTA will bring together for the first time realistic beam-based system tests and superconducting radio-frequency cryomodules operating at high gradient.

Superconducting radio-frequency accelerators for discovery

Nearly all future particle accelerators for discovery science, whether in the near or far term, will be based on superconducting radio-frequency accelerators. ASTA brings together state-of-the-art SRF technology and beams in prototypic conditions, enabling a host of studies of direct relevance to the accelerator-based user facilities of the future.

Novel radiation sources

The demand for radiation sources spans discovery science, national security and industrial applications. The unique combination of high-energy, high-peak-power and average-power, and high-brightness electron beams available at ASTA will enable exploration of new techniques in the generation of high-brightness photon beams spanning from keVs to tens of MeVs.

If fully constructed, ASTA's linear accelerator will consist of an electron photoinjector, accelerating cavities, a bunch compressor and three 1.3-GHz ILC-type cryomodules powered together from a single high-power klystron. Each cryomodule provides 250 MeV of energy gain for total output energy of approximately 800 MeV, if fully built out. It will deliver 1-millisecond-long bunch trains with up to 3,000 bunches per train. It will also deliver up to five pulses per second, providing high beam power and high average brightness. Based on ILC technology, ASTA is capable of providing exceptional beam stability.

Learn more about ASTA.