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July 2017 • The PCB Design Magazine 85 Many large-scale accelerators deliver short, powerful pulses of proton beams. Creating the beams involves accumulating multiple lower power beam pulses to produce a single high- power beam pulse. Today, the achievable proton beam powers are limited by the technology used to merge the incoming pulses into a final beam pulse. To resolve this limitation, scientists demonstrated a new technique, called laser stripping. The approach uses a high-power laser and two magnets. The new approach could revolutionize how high-power proton beams are generated in accelerators. Scientists use the beams to answer tough questions about materials. Industry uses the beams in medical and security applications. Laser stripping means next-generation accelerators with significantly higher beam powers. Higher beam powers result in increased rates of particle production and higher particle collision rates. The conventional method of merging beam pulses starts with an incoming pulse of energized hydrogen ions, H-, or a proton with two electrons, merges the ions with a circulating proton beam in a ring, then strips the H- ions of their electrons to leave only protons in the beam. These stripper foils degrade at high temperatures. The degradation limits the achievable proton-beam power density. The laser stripping technique is a novel method of removing the electrons from an energized H- beam without any material interaction. In the experiment recently conducted at the Spallation Neutron Source accelerator, scientists demonstrated the laser stripping technique for a 10-microsecond pulse of a 1 gigaelectronvolt energy H- beam using commercial laser technology. The achieved electron stripping efficiency was greater than 95 percent, comparable to typical efficiencies in the conventional foil-based method. This was the first demonstration of the technique for realistic time-scale beams in an accelerator. The technique was a factor of 1000 increase in pulse duration compared to a previous demonstration where less realistic scales were used. Laser Stripping Powers Protons Image courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory/Jill Hemman.

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