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A team of researchers led by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville conducted the measurement in a beam test facility at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory using a replica of the Spallation Neutron Source's linear accelerator, or linac. The details are published in the journal Physical Review Letters.
"Our goal is to better understand the physics of the beam so that we can improve how accelerators operate," said Sarah Cousineau, group leader in ORNL's Research Accelerator Division and UT joint faculty professor. "Part of that is related to being able to fully characterize or measure a beam in 6D space -- and that's something that, until now, has never been done."
Space - Space - Coordinates - X - Y
Six-dimensional space is like 3D space but includes three additional coordinates on the x, y, and z axes to track motion or velocity.
"Right away we saw the beam has this complex structure in 6D space that you can't see below 5D -- layers and layers of complexities that can't be detangled," Cousineau said. "The measurement also revealed the beam structure is directly related to the beam's intensity, which gets more complex as the intensity increases."
Attempts - Accelerator - Beam - Victim - Curse
Previous attempts to fully characterize an accelerator beam fell victim to "the curse of dimensionality," in which measurements in low dimensions become exponentially more difficult in higher dimensions. Scientists have tried to circumvent the issue by adding three 2D measurements together to create a quasi-6D representation. The UT-ORNL team notes that approach is incomplete as a measurement of the beam's initial conditions entering the accelerator, which determine beam behavior farther down the linac.
As part of efforts to boost the power output of SNS, ORNL physicists used the beam test facility to commission the new radio frequency quadrupole, the first accelerating element located at the linac's front-end assembly. With the infrastructure already in place, a research...
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It had only one fault, it was useless.