Testing of a new energy-efficient supermagnet begins

Scientists and engineers at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) designed and built a Zero Power Tunable Optics (ZEPTO) magnet, a permanent, tunable magnet that consumes no electrical power.

Now the engineers began testing the new energy-efficient supermagnet at the Diamond Light Source for the next generation of particle accelerators.

Particle accelerators are responsible for some of the greatest scientific breakthroughs in history.like the discovery of the Higgs boson at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.

The world needs these powerful and highly complex machines to enable research, which is essential to the development of important green technologies, such as better solar cells and more efficient batteries.

A particle accelerator can use thousands of high-powered tunable electromagnets to bend and focus a beam through the machine, near the speed of light. However, its operation and cooling consume large amounts of electricity. ZEPTO offers the same flexibility as an electromagnet, but does not require a power supply to produce a magnetic field. This could lead to huge savings on the cost and scale of future particle accelerators.

Successful commissioning of the ZEPTO magnet at Diamond, the UK’s national synchrotron accelerator, kicks off a year-long demonstration to confirm that it is as reliable and robust as a conventional electromagnet.

During the test, a magnet is expected to save about 136 kg of carbon dioxide compared to a conventional electromagnetand carbon recovery is expected to occur within one year of operation.

The development of the ZEPTO magnet confirms STFC’s ability to design and manufacture the new technologies needed to build the world’s next generation of research facilities more affordably and sustainably.

Jim Clarke, director of the STFC Accelerator Science and Technology Center

Developed under the STFC Proof of Concept fund, the ZEPTO magnet is part of STFC’s growing program of sustainable accelerators. It’s just a token of STFC’s commitment to making accelerators sustainable.

It is very exciting to apply our experience to make particle accelerators environmentally and financially sustainable for the benefit of our environment and our economy. This major project is just one example of how STFC’s accelerator scientists, engineers and technicians are supporting STFC’s goal of being net zero by 2040.

jim clark

More information: www.ukri.org

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