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  • richardmitnick 12:01 pm on August 1, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From CERN: “ISOLDE back on target after shutdown” 

    CERN New Masthead
    CERN

    1 Aug 2014
    Anaïs Schaeffer

    Today the ISOLDE installation restarted its physics programme with beams from the Proton Synchrotron Booster. After a shutdown of almost a year and a half, there was a real buzz in the air as the first beam of protons hit the target of the first ISOLDE experiment.

    Many improvements have been made to the ISOLDE installation during the first long shutdown (LS1) of CERN’s accelerator complex. One of the main projects was the installation of new robots for handling the targets (see photo below). “Our targets are bombarded by protons from the Proton Synchrotron Booster’s beams and become very radioactive,” says Maria Jose Garcia Borge, spokesperson for the ISOLDE collaboration. “They therefore need to be handled carefully, which is where the robots came in. The robots we had until now were already over 20 years old and were starting to suffer from the effects of radiation. So LS1 was a perfect opportunity to replace them with more modern robots with electronic sensor feedback.”

    image
    One of the new target-handling robots installed by ISOLDE during LS1 (Image: ISOLDE/CERN)

    On the civil engineering side, three ISOLDE buildings have been demolished and replaced with a single building to house the ISOLDE team. It includes a new control room, a data storage room, three laser laboratories, a biology and materials laboratory, and a room for visitors, from which they can admire the ISOLDE hall in comfort. Another building has been extended to house the MEDICIS project, and two more – completed at the end of 2012 – are gradually being equipped with new electrical systems as well as the cooling and ventilation systems needed for the future HIE-ISOLDE.

    In the ISOLDE hall itself, new permanent experimental stations have also been installed. “One of the permanent stations – called IDS or ISOLDE Decay Station (see photo below) – is dedicated to nuclear spectroscopy,” says Borge. “It will allow us to study beta decay and to measure the lifetime of excited states. The other permanent station – VITO – will be used for combined material measurements and biological analyses.”

    decay
    The ISOLDE Decay Station (IDS), one of ISOLDE’s two new permanent experimental stations (Image: ISOLDE/CERN)

    As for the experiment that started this week, it is picking up where the promising analyses carried out in 2012 left off: “Just before LS1, we carried out a medical physics experiment on terbium, directed by Institut Laue-Langevin and the Paul Scherrer Institute ,” says Borge. “It involved in vivo studies of the use of terbium isotopes for both detecting and treating cancerous tumours. Generally, two different chemical elements are used for diagnosis and therapy. Using isotopes of a single chemical element could be very useful in improving the reliability of the process.”

    For the remainder of 2014, the ISOLDE programme is already very busy: almost 40 low-energy experiments are already planned between now and December. At the same time, the necessary infrastructure for the HIE-ISOLDE superconducting accelerator will continue to be installed. Its first cryomodule is due to be installed in spring 2015, ready for high-energy physics to begin in the autumn of the same year.

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 7:09 pm on April 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From ISOLDE at CERN: “ISOLDE sheds light on dying stars” 

    CERN New Masthead

    CERN ISOLDE New
    ISOLDE

    3 Apr 2014
    Dan Noyes

    What happens inside a dying star? A recent experiment at CERN’s REX accelerator offers clues that could help astrophysicists to recalculate the ages of some of the largest explosions in the universe.

    CERN REX post accelerator
    REX post-accelerator

    Core-collapse supernovae are spectacular stellar explosions that can briefly outshine an entire galaxy. They occur when massive stars – stars that are more than eight times as massive as our sun – collapse upon themselves. Huge amounts of matter and energy are ejected into space during these events. The cores of such stars then rapidly collapse and go on to form a neutron star or a black hole.

    TII
    Date 6 January 2014, 16:15:00
    Source http://www.eso.org/public/images/eso1401a/
    Author ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/A. Angelich. Visible light image: the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. X-Ray image: The NASA Chandra X-Ray Observatory
    The expanding remnant of SN 1987A, a Type II-P supernova in the Large Magellanic Cloud. NASA image.

    The sequence of events in the first few seconds of a massive star collapsing is well understood. Elements in and around the core are broken down by high-energy photons into free protons, neutrons and alpha particles. Bursts of neutrinos follow. But modelling what happens next remains a challenge for astrophysicists.

    Optical telescopes offer little detail on the explosion mechanism. Gamma ray observatories, by contrast, offer tantalising clues, notably in the gamma rays produced by titanium-44 , an isotope of titanium created naturally in supernovae, which can be detected as it is ejected from the dying stars. The amount of the isotope ejected from the supernovae can tell astrophysicists about how it exploded.

    compton
    The Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (CGRO) was a space observatory detecting light from 20 KeV to 30 GeV in Earth orbit from 1991 to 2000. It featured four main telescopes in one spacecraft covering x-rays and gamma-rays, including various specialized sub-instruments and detectors. Following 14 years of effort, the observatory was launched from Space Shuttle Atlantis during STS-37 on 5 April 1991, and operated until its deorbit on 4 June 2000. CGRO was part of NASA’s Great Observatories series, along with the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Spitzer Space Telescope. It was the second of the NASA “Great Observatories” to be launched to space, following the Hubble Space Telescope. CGRO was an international collaboration and additional contributions came from the European Space Agency and various Universities, as well as the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.

    Two of the best of the ground based Optical observatories
    Keck Observatory
    Keck

    ESO VLT
    ESO VLT

    By understanding the behavior of titanium-44 at energies similar to those at the core a collapsing star, researchers at CERN hope to offer some insight into the mechanisms of core-collapse supernovae.

    In a paper published in March, they reported on an experiment that used titanium-44 harvested from waste accelerator parts at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Switzerland.

    At the ISOLDE facility at CERN, the REX team accelerated a beam of titanium-44 into a chamber of helium gas and observed the resulting collisions between the isotope and the helium atoms. The measurements – which mimic reactions occurring in the silicon-rich region just above the exploding core of a supernova – indicated that more of the isotope is ejected from core collapse supernovae than has previously been thought.

    Astrophysicists can use the new data to recalculate the ages of supernovae.

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 1:59 pm on February 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From CERN: “Test Storage Ring could find new life at ISOLDE” 

    CERN New Masthead

    25 Feb 2014
    Barbara Warmbein

    A used particle accelerator from Germany could start a new life at CERN’s ISOLDE facility.

    pa
    The Test Storage Ring at the Max-Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany (Image: Max-Planck Institute)

    The Test Storage Ring (TSR) has been in operation at the Max-Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg since 1988. Storage rings are a type of particle accelerator in which beams can be kept circulating for hours. They are often used in particle-physics laboratories to prepare ion sources for experiments.

    If committee decisions are in favour and enough funding is found, the whole 55-metre TSR could be packed up and moved to Geneva to complement the ISOLDE upgrade. The addition of this ring to ISOLDE would make the research facility unparalleled in the world in terms of ion-beam luminosity and quality.

    CERN ISOLDE New
    ISOLDE

    ISOLDE produces beams of radioactive ions that are used for a large array of small experiments in materials science, life sciences, nuclear and atomic physics and astrophysics. After a planned upgrade that is scheduled to finish around 2016, it will become HIE-ISOLDE, where HIE stands for High Intensity and Energy. The beams of radioactive ions will be a factor of three higher in energy and three times more intense, allowing a whole new range of experiments.

    If the Heidelberg TSR is implemented at ISOLDE, it would allow beams to be stored, cooled and reused, thus providing an intensity that would be about a million times higher in combination with greater luminosity and much better beam definition. “It’s a unique opportunity for a unique facility,” says Klaus Blaum of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, who is the spokesman for the TSR @ ISOLDE collaboration. “TSR would add a whole new class of experimental possibility.” The likely customers of TSR @ ISOLDE are nuclear and atomic physicists, materials and life scientists and astrophysicists.

    At its current home in Germany, the TSR circulates beams of heavy stable ions for experiments in atomic and molecular physics and for accelerator studies. It will soon be replaced by the Cryogenic Storage Ring (CSR) – an accelerator designed for atomic physics, that operates at -271°C.

    “TSR is perfect for nuclear physics, and it still has many years to go,” says Blaum. “So we proposed to add it to CERN’s ISOLDE beams.” The international ISOLDE collaboration were on board immediately, says Baum, and soon afterwards the team consisting of some 150 institutes in 50 countries published a feasibility study in form of a Technical Design Report in 2012. CERN’s Research Board has already given its green light and the TSR has a temporary building number at CERN. The CERN Council will take the final decision on whether to move the TSR from Heidelberg to CERN.

    See the full article here.

    Meet CERN in a variety of places:

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  • richardmitnick 11:12 am on September 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From CERN: “CERN to produce radioisotopes for health” 

    CERN New Masthead

    4 Sep 2013
    Marina Giampietro

    A groundbreaking ceremony at CERN today marked the beginning of the construction of CERN MEDICIS, a research facility that will make radioisotopes for medical applications. The facility will use a proton beam at ISOLDE to produce the isotopes, which are first destined for hospitals and research centres in Switzerland, and will progressively extend to a larger network of laboratories in Europe and beyond.

    CERN ISOLDE New
    ISOLDE

    Radioactive isotopes are unstable nuclei. They present the same number of protons and a different number of neutrons when compared to the equivalent stable chemical element. In medicine they can be used to reveal the locations of specific molecules in living tissue.

    To produce radioisotopes CERN MEDICIS will use the primary proton beam at ISOLDE, the radioactive beam facility that for over 40 years has provided beams for around 300 experiments at CERN.

    At ISOLDE, physicists direct a high-energy-proton beam from the Proton-Synchrotron Booster at a target. The beam loses only 10% of its intensity and energy on hitting the target so the particles that pass through can still be used. For CERN-MEDICIS, a second target will be placed behind the first, and used to produce useful radioisotopes.

    An automated conveyor will then carry this second target to the CERN MEDICIS infrastructure, where the radioisotopes will be extracted. CERN’s Knowledge Transfer group covered the cost of the conveyor using money from the KT Fund, and is providing a dedicated technology-transfer officer specializing in life sciences. The radioactive shipping service in CERN’s Radio Protection unit together with the logistic services will handle transporting the radioisotopes to the medical facilities where they are needed.

    depict
    A proton beam, entering from the left, hits a target at the ISOLDE facility, producing a shower of scattered particles (Image: ISOLDE)

    “The first part of activities will be fully dedicated to the production and shipping of radioisotopes to the clinical and research centres in the region,” says Thierry Stora, the CERN engineer who leads the CERN MEDICIS project. So far the Geneva University Hospital (HUG), the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) and the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC) of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) will use CERN’s isotopes. But there is room for expansion.

    “More research and treatment facilities in the member states have already expressed their interest in collaborating with CERN,” says Stora. “Researchers from the biomedical field are keen to share the diverse technical expertise we have at CERN, which is required to produce radioisotopes.”

    See the full article here, with links to other material.

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  • richardmitnick 12:57 pm on June 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , CERN ISOLDE, , , ,   

    From CERN: “CERN’s ISOLTRAP reveals new magic in the atomic nucleus” 

    CERN New Masthead

    19 June 2013
    Cian O’Luanaigh

    “The ISOLTRAP collaboration has measured the mass of exotic calcium nuclei using a new instrument installed at the ISOLDE facility at CERN. The measurements, published on 20 June in the journal Nature, clearly establish a new ‘magic number’ related to the stability of this exotic species. The results cast light on how nuclei can be described in terms of the fundamental strong force.

    isolde
    Part of the ISOLTRAP experimental apparatus at CERN (Image: CERN)

    ‘This measurement from a classic ISOLDE low-energy experiment complements well recent key results on radon, observed by post-accelerated beams, and on astatine, observed at the source with lasers,’ said CERN’s Director-General, Rolf Heuer. ‘It demonstrates beautifully that ISOLDE has a wealth of tools for producing exciting physics.’

    The results strengthen the prominence in calcium isotopes of a magic number that was not foreseen in the original ‘nuclear shell model’, for which Maria Goeppert-Mayer and Hans Jensen received the Nobel Prize in 1963, exactly 50 years ago. In this model, the protons and neutrons in a nucleus arrange themselves in ‘shells’ similar to those of electrons in atoms. The magic numbers correspond to full nuclear shells, in which the constituents are more tightly bound, leading to more stability and lighter masses.

    The ISOLTRAP team used the ISOLDE facility to make exotic isotopes of calcium, which has the magic number of 20 protons in a closed shell. Their goal was to find out how the shell structure evolves with increasing numbers of neutrons. Standard calcium with 20 neutrons is doubly magic, and a rare long-lived isotope has 28 neutrons – another magic number.

    Now, the ISOLTRAP team has determined the masses of calcium isotopes all the way to calcium-54, which has 34 neutrons in addition to the 20 protons. The measurements not only reveal a new magic number, 32, but also pin down nuclear interactions in exotic neutron-rich nuclei.”

    The full article is here.

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  • richardmitnick 1:52 pm on May 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From CERN: “A fundamental property of the rarest element on Earth” 

    CERN New Masthead

    14 May 2013
    Cian O’Luanaigh

    “An international team of physicists at the radioactive-beam facility ISOLDE at CERN have for the first time measured the ionization potential of the rare radioactive element astatine.

    rare
    Part of the resonance ionization laser ion source (RILIS) at ISOLDE (Image: ISOLDE/CERN)

    The value for astatine, published today in the journal Nature Communications, could help chemists to develop applications for the element in radiotherapy, and will serve as a benchmark for theories that predict the structure of super-heavy elements.

    The ionization potential of an element is the energy needed to remove one electron from the atom, thereby turning it into an ion. This measurement is related to the chemical reactivity of an element and, indirectly, to the stability of its chemical bonds in compounds.

    See the full article here.

    Meet CERN in a variety of places:

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    THE FOUR MAJOR PROJECT COLLABORATIONS

    ATLAS
    CERN ATLAS New

    ALICE
    CERN ALICE New

    CMS
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    CERN LHCb New

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