around 17000 accelerators exist in the world and these are used for a
variety of applications including medicine, semi-conductor manufacture
and understanding the structure of materials. About 100 of these are
used for fundamental physics studies, including the accelerators in CERN, Fermilab, etc.
PPD works on a number of projects undertaking R&D on accelerators for both Particle Physics and for medical applications.
The neutrino factory
The Neutrino Factory is a possible future facility for creating very intense beams of neutrinos to make detailed studies of the phenomenon of neutrino oscillations. It is a potential successor to the T2K experiment and a possible future facility for the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
facility will consist of a number of different accelerators and most of
these are beyond the state of the art. This has led to the creation of
several R&D projects to understand how these can be built, for example MICE, the Front End Test Stand project, studies of pion production targets and EMMA (see below).
PPD also leads a European Commission 7th Framework Programme design study to investigate future high intensity neutrino oscillation facilities. This study is called EUROν and has recently officially started work.
The layout of a neutrino factory from a recent international study
EMMA and PAMELA
project has been created to study a novel type of accelerator, a
so-called non-scaling FFAG, for a variety of applications. However, so
far no such accelerator has ever been built, so the first step in the
project is to build one and study in detail how it works. This
proof-of-principle non-scaling FFAG is called EMMA and is currently
being constructed at the Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire. The studies
of EMMA will use a beam produced by another accelerator at Daresbury
called ALICE. The EMMA project leader is a member of PPD.
of the main applications under study is the use of non-scaling FFAGs to
accelerate "hadrons", in particular protons and carbon ions, for the
treatment of cancer, so-called hadron therapy. The aim of this work is the design of a carbon therapy accelerator, to be called PAMELA.
EMMA: the world's first non-scaling FFAG
Boron Neutron Capture Therapy
is another form of hadron therapy, this time using very low energy
neutrons. In BNCT, the tumour is doped with a boron-10 carrying
compound. The neutrons interact with the boron to produce an alpha
particle and a lithium nucleus and these destroy the cancerous cell in
which they are created. However, a large number of low energy neutrons
are required. We are working with a group from Birmingham University who
already have a BNCT facility in which the neutrons are made using an
accelerator. Our aim is to increase the neutron fluence to the level at
which clinical trials of the therapy are possible.
An experimental neutron production station for BNCT in Birmingham University
(Credit: S. Green)