FRIB becomes world’s highest energy continuous-wave hadron linear accelerator

In March 2019, FRIB became the world’s highest-energy continuous-wave hadron linear accelerator (linac) when an argon beam was accelerated in the first third of the linac up to 20.3 electron-volts per nucleon (MeV/u) in continuous-wave mode. The beam was transmitted with no detectable beam losses.

Most existing large hadron linacs operate at room temperature (298 kelvin) or they accelerate hadron beams only in a pulsed mode. Pulsed mode reduces the average power of the accelerator. FRIB’s superconducting technology makes it possible to operate hadron linacs in continuous-wave mode.

FRIB’s design allows a total voltage of 166 megavolts (MV) in the first third of the linac to accelerate any ion beam in continuous-wave mode. Existing heavy-ion superconducting linacs provide up to 100 MV.