In Class Research

May 31, 2019 at 4:00 pm

Kevin Ward ǀ Analyzing Nano-Crystalline Material for Use in Beam Current Transformer Cores at Accelerator in France

By Kevin Ward
(B.S. Physics, Honors Tutorial College, Class of 2021)

Dr. Kenneth H. Hicks, a professor in Physics & Astronomy, directed my summer 2018 internship assignment. I traveled to the Orsay Nuclear Physics Institute in France to conduct research with Dr. Christophe Joly. The University of Connecticut sponsored my internship.

My project sought to find new materials for use in the beam diagnostics systems in the accelerator at Orsay. We tested the different properties of these materials in order to gauge their ability to read small fluctuations in the accelerator beam.

Beam Diagnostics are essential in the maintenance and tuning of accelerators. Ideally, the diagnostics do not rely on means that interrupt the beam along its path. One way to accomplish this is the use of beam current transformers as measurement tools. Beam current transformers react to the non-propagating electromagnetic field created by the accelerator by passing the beam through a torus of material with high permeability and using the induced current in a secondary coil to measure characteristics of the beam such as intensity, position and phase. While the ideal torus core has an extremely high permeability, some preferable materials are unobtainable.

My experiment sought to analyze the characteristics of a new nano-crystalline material as an alternative to Vitrovac 6025f for use in beam current transformer cores. This new material is much more available and can be used to provide accurate measurements in a beam current transformer.

I had to design and build an apparatus to test a phenomenon known as Barkhausen noise, I had to come up with my own design in order to test the samples given, because the sample was not a single solid mass, the normal testing apparatus did not work and I had to use a surface testing method. We managed to successfully show that the new material was of higher quality and more accurate for use as a measuring device than the preciously used material.

When asked about traveling to a foreign country for a physics internship, the art and culture of France is unforgettable, it was truly a once in a lifetime experience to live in such a different world on your own.

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