CORDIS - EU research results

Beam physics studies into the design and optimization of a novel low energy antimatter research facility

Final Report Summary - BEAPHY (Beam physics studies into the design and optimization of a novel low energy antimatter research facility)

Antiprotons, stored and cooled at low energies in a storage ring or at rest in traps, are highly desirable for the investigation of a large number of basic questions on fundamental interactions, on the static structure of exotic antiprotonic atomic systems or of (radioactive) nuclei as well as on the time-dependent quantum dynamics of correlated systems. Fundamental studies include for example CPT tests by high-resolution spectroscopy of the 1s-2s transition or of the ground-state hyperfine structure of antihydrogen, as well as gravity experiments with antimatter. In addition, low-energy antiprotons are the ideal and perhaps the only tool to study in detail correlated quantum dynamics of few-electron systems in the femto and sub-femtosecond time regime.
Antimatter experiments are at the cutting edge of science; impressively underlined through the award of ‘most important physics breakthrough’ in 2010 to the successful trapping of antihydrogen by physicsworld. They are, however, very difficult to realize and presently limited by the performance of the only existing facility in the world, the Antiproton Decelerator (AD) at CERN. To enable the efficient investigation of essentially all these important questions, a new experimental facility, the Extra Low ENergy Antiproton ring (ELENA) will be built.
The BeaPhy project focused on a cutting edge research project in charged particle beam physics. In particular, it addressed the key challenges in the design, construction and operation of the new research infrastructure ELENA through beam dynamics studies that optimize the experimental performance for essentially all antimatter experiments at CERN.
Work started on 1. April 2014 and excellent results have been obtained during the course of the project, including comprehensive studies into the beam life time and dynamic aperture of ELENA and low energy antiproton storage rings in general, as well as R&D into novel beam diagnostics instrumentation for beam emittance measurement at lowest beam energies. This work has already resulted in two journal articles published in the Journal of Instrumentation and Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, as well as an oral presentation at the world's largest Particle Accelerator Conference (IPAC) in May 2015 in Richmond, USA. Project updates have also been presented at several workshops and international collaboration meetings. Additional journal articles are currently being prepared to report on the latest project results and will be published in the near future. The project has fulfilled the original objectives in terms its scientific deliverables.
In parallel, very significant training was provided and received by the Fellow, including contributions to schools and workshops, student supervision, lecturing at the host university and integration into the institute and host group's wider activities.

Impact and future perspectives:
The results obtained in BeaPhy have provided a comprehensive explanation of several aspects of the beam dynamics in ELENA and they can be extended to other machines with similar beam characteristics. These results will be benchmarked against measurements with beam during the future commissioning and operation of this unique machine. It will be the first time that an antiproton machine is operated at such a low energy (100 keV kinetic energy), and therefore the comparison of the existing simulation models with measurements will be essential to understand the details and limitations of many effects (IBS, space charge, impedances, etc.) at such unexplored low energy regime.
The work started with the BeaPhy project will be continued by the QUASAR Group with the participation in the commissioning activities of ELENA. Certainly, the results generated during the start-up and commissioning of ELENA, combining the BeaPhy simulations and real measurements, will be a breakthrough, with enough quality to be published in the highest impact journals.
In BeaPhy we have addressed many challenges of the beam dynamics of the extra-low energy antiproton storage rings and this has opened the door to a better and more complete understanding of the behaviour of hadron beams at very low energies. Moreover, the work carried out in the context of BeaPhy now provides a lot of useful information and results to the antimatter research community. Many of the research lines opened in the BeaPhy framework will be continued and integrated in future projects and networks, such as “PbarNET”, which is a new European network for antimatter research that was initiated by Prof. Carsten Welsch and which will start in 2017.