Optimizing accelerator technology

A new EU-funded research and training network, oPAC, is bringing together 22 universities, research centres and industry partners to optimize particle accelerator technology. CERN is one of the network’s main partners and will host 5 early-stage researchers in the BE department.


A diamond detector that will be used for novel beam diagnostics applications in the oPAC project based at CIVIDEC. (Image courtesy of CIVIDEC.)

As one of the largest Marie Curie Initial Training Networks ever funded by the EU – to the tune of €6 million – oPAC extends well beyond the particle physics community. “Accelerator physics has become integral to research in almost every scientific discipline – be it biology and life science, medicine, geology and material science, or fundamental physics,” explains Carsten P. Welsch, oPAC co-ordinator based at the University of Liverpool. “By optimizing the operation of accelerators, all of these research areas will benefit.”

oPAC will be sponsoring 22 early-stage researchers to investigate, among other things, charged particle beam dynamics, beam diagnostics and accelerator control systems. By combining an understanding of these different fields, the researchers will gain a broader knowledge of how accelerators work and thus how best to improve accelerator performance.

“Along with providing exceptional training opportunities, it is the diversity of research projects that makes the oPAC network so unique,” says Carsten. While many of the projects will have generic applications for all accelerators, some will examine specific accelerator issues. For example, the network’s CERN-based researchers will be looking to optimize the performance of LINAC4 and ELENA, and will also be examining the Hi-Lumi LHC and LHeC upgrade scenarios. At the University of Seville, an oPAC project will bring together physicists and medical researchers to improve accelerator-based imaging techniques used to monitor cancer therapy.

oPAC is still looking to fill its 22 research positions and is currently accepting applications. Researchers with exceptional academic backgrounds are encouraged to submit their applications before 31 May.

For further information visit the oPAC website or contact Carsten Welsch.

by Katarina Anthony