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Many present and future particle accelerators are limited by the maximum electric gradient and peak surface fields that can be realized in RF cavities. Despite considerable effort, a comprehensive theory of RF breakdown has not been achieved and mitigation techniques to improve practical maximum accelerating gradients have had only limited success. Part of the problem is that RF breakdown in an evacuated cavity involves a complex mixture of effects, which include the geometry, metallurgy, and surface preparation of the accelerating structures and the make-up and pressure of the residual gas in which plasmas form. Studies showed that high gradients can be achieved quickly in 805 MHz RF cavities pressurized with dense hydrogen gas, as needed for muon cooling channels, without the need for long conditioning times, even in the presence of strong external magnetic fields. This positive result was expected because the dense gas can practically eliminate dark currents and multipacting. In this project we used this high pressure technique to suppress effects of residual vacuum and geometry that are found in evacuated cavities in order to isolate and study the role of the metallic surfaces in RF cavity breakdown as a function of magnetic field, frequency, and surface preparation.more » One of the interesting and useful outcomes of this project was the unanticipated collaborations with LANL and Fermilab that led to new insights as to the operation of evacuated normal-conducting RF cavities in high external magnetic fields. Other accomplishments included: (1) RF breakdown experiments to test the effects of SF6 dopant in H2 and He gases with Sn, Al, and Cu electrodes were carried out in an 805 MHz cavity and compared to calculations and computer simulations. The heavy corrosion caused by the SF6 components led to the suggestion that a small admixture of oxygen, instead of SF6, to the hydrogen would allow the same advantages without the corrosion in a practical muon beam line. (2) A 1.3 GHz RF test cell capable of operating both at high pressure and in vacuum with replaceable electrodes was designed, built, and power tested in preparation for testing the frequency and geometry effects of RF breakdown at Argonne National Lab. At the time of this report this cavity is still waiting for the 1.3 GHz klystron to be available at the Wakefield Test Facility. (3) Under a contract with Los Alamos National Lab, an 805 MHz RF test cavity, known as the All-Seasons Cavity (ASC), was designed and built by Muons, Inc. to operate either at high pressure or under vacuum. The LANL project to use the (ASC) was cancelled and the testing of the cavity has been continued under the grant reported on here using the Fermilab Mucool Test Area (MTA). The ASC is a true pillbox cavity that has performed under vacuum in high external magnetic field better than any other and has demonstrated that the high required accelerating gradients for many muon cooling beam line designs are possible. (4) Under ongoing support from the Muon Acceleration Program, microscopic surface analysis and computer simulations have been used to develop models of RF breakdown that apply to both pressurized and vacuum cavities. The understanding of RF breakdown will lead to better designs of RF cavities for many applications. An increase in the operating accelerating gradient, improved reliability and shorter conditioning times can generate very significant cost savings in many accelerator projects.« less
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Muons, Inc.
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE; USDOE Office of Science (SC), High Energy Physics (HEP) (SC-25)
Contributing Orgs:
Country of Publication:
United States
43 PARTICLE ACCELERATORS RF, cavity, breakdown, pressurized, vacuum, magnetic fields, muon, beam, cooling