Researchers across four labs have been testing a superconducting coil with the goal of implementing it in the Large Hadron Collider as part of the high-luminosity upgrade. The tests suggest that the new design, which involves magnets, will be right for its use in the LHC.

Scientists who are part of the U.S. LHC Accelerator Research Program, or LARP, are working on creating the extremely powerful magnets that will end up in the high-luminosity Large Hadron Collider, or HL-LHC, with the hopes of starting it up in 2025.

"The upgrade will help us get closer to new physics. If we see something with the current run, we'll need more data to get a clear picture. If we don't find anything, more data may help us to see something new," said Giorgio Ambrosio, leader of the magnet efforts of LARP.

The magnets being developed by LARP, called quadrupole magnets, are more advanced and are used to focus particle beams. They will be able to produce much higher magnetic fields and have larger beam apertures than those currently being used at the LHC.

Currently, the LHC is using magnets made from niobium titanium, and while they are certainly very effective, they will not be able to support the magnetic fields and high apertures required for higher luminosities. To accommodate these new requirements, scientists are turning to a new material, niobium tin, which has not been used because it is very brittle, unlike niobium titanium. This makes it highly susceptible to damage. Coupled with the fact that the magnets need to withstand huge amounts of force, the material is very difficult to engineer.

LARP has been working on using the material for almost 10 years, and has collaborated closely with CERN on the design of the new coils. Not only that, but after the coils were built, the team at LARP tested it in a magnetic mirror structure, and was able to demonstrate that the coil will be protected from stress and heat that takes place during a quench, which is the quick transition from superconducting to normal state.

"The fact that the very first test of the magnet was successful was based on the experience of many years," said Guram Chlachidze, the test coordinator for the magnets.  "This knowledge and experience is well recognized by the magnet world."

The completed magnet will be tested over the next few months.

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