Superconducting Linac Upgrades

The Basics

The 355-yard-long linear accelerator, or linac, at the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) accelerates hydrogen ions to around 90 percent of the speed of light. The linac consists of copper cavities and superconducting niobium cavities (metallic chambers that can contain electromagnetic fields) inside 23 complex, supercooled structures, called cryomodules, that accelerate the ion beam. The linac also includes numerous magnets that focus and steer the beam. 
The first one-third or so of the linac operates at room temperature, while the remainder uses 81 superconducting cavities cooled with liquid helium to just two degrees above absolute zero. 

PPU Upgrades

PPU will add seven more cryomodules containing a total of 28 additional superconducting cavities, which are based on the original high-beta cryomodule design with only minor modifications to facilitate manufacturing. The new cryomodules will take advantage of improvements to their supporting Radio-Frequency Systems to provide increased maximum output power. 

The cavities will be installed inside each cryomodule’s liquid helium vessel, which were redesigned and fabricated from titanium. New, more robust power couplers will feature a thicker inner conductor wall to improve heat conduction. 

Seven additional cryomodules similar to this unit will be installed in an existing space left open during the original SNS construction.








Superconducting cavities made from high-purity niobium are cooled to near absolute zero inside the cryomodules.