LHC’s new superconducting magnets models tested at the ESRF #weekendusers


It will be the first time that superconducting Nb3Sn magnets, with an unprecedented power, will be used in a particle accelerator. CERN scientists came to the ESRF ID15A beamline last weekend to map strain in the magnet coils.

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When the Large Hadron Collider comes into a conversation, everyone thinks big. Despite the large size of LHC, the samples that the scientists tested were rather small. “We are testing some segments from a coil of a short model of a dipole magnet which will bend beams around the 27 km circumference of the upgraded LHC. The length of the coils in the full size magnet is 5.5 metres”, explains Christian Scheuerlein, a CERN materials engineer who has been using the ESRF for the last decade.


The team in the control hutch. 

Scheuerlein has come to the ESRF’s ID15A in order to study the strain across the magnet coil. “We want to see how the strain of the Nb3Sn superconductor is distributed throughout the coil, and this is something we can do on the new ID15A with its very fast detector”, he explains. The magnets, when installed in the upgraded LHC, will produce 11 Tesla magnetic field, compared to the 8.3 Tesla at present.

“CERN and ESRF scientists have been working together for several years on the development of this new technology. We started with a prototype of a single wire and now we have real magnets so we have come a long way” says Marco Di Michiel.

Scheuerlein hopes that this experiment will allow the CERN scientists to “further improve the understanding of the ultimate performance limitations of the strain sensitive Nb3Sn superconductor in accelerator magnets”, he concludes. 


Christian Scheuerlein sets the sample on the beamline. 


Text and pictures by Montserrat Capellas

Top image: The sample in the experimental hutch of the beamline.