skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: Fiber optic quench detection via optimized Rayleigh Scattering in high-field YBCO accelerator magnets

Yttrium barium copper oxide (YBCO) coated conductors are known for their ability to operate in the superconducting state at relatively high temperatures, even above the boiling point of liquid nitrogen (77 K). When these same conductors are operated at lower temperatures, they are able to operate in much higher magnetic fields than traditional superconductors like NiTi or Nb3Sn. Thus, YBCO superconducting magnets are one of the primary options for generating the high magnetic fields needed for future high energy physics devices. Due to slow quench propagation, quench detection remains one of the primary limitations to YBCO magnets. Fiber optic sensing, based upon Rayleigh scattering, has the potential for spatial resolution approaching the wavelength of light, or very fast temporal resolution at low spatial resolution, and a continuum of combinations in between. This project has studied, theoretically and experimentally, YBCO magnets and Rayleigh scattering quench detection systems to demonstrate feasibility of the systems for YBCO quench protection systems. Under this grant an experimentally validated 3D quench propagation model was used to accurately define the acceptable range of spatial and temporal resolutions for effective quench detection in YBCO magnets and to evaluate present-day and potentially improved YBCO conductors. The data volume andmore » speed requirements for quench detection via Rayleigh scattering required the development of a high performance fiber optic based quench detection/data acquisition system and its integration with an existing voltage tap/thermo-couple based system. In this project, optical fibers are tightly co-wound into YBCO magnet coils, with the fiber on top of the conductor as turn-to-turn insulation. Local changes in the temperature or strain of the conductor are sensed by the optical fiber, which is in close thermal and mechanical contact with the conductor. Intrinsic imperfections in the fiber reflect Rayleigh backscattered laser signals that are shifted by the changes in the fiber that are induced by a local change in the YBCO temperature or strain. One goal of this project was to show that modern technology can be used to interrogate the signals from a (very expensive) YBCO magnet to detect an impending quench in time to protect it from self-destruction. The results show that Rayleigh-backscattering interrogated optical fibers (RIOF) have significant advantages over traditional techniques, including very high spatial resolution and the ability to detect a hot-spot well before the peak local temperature becomes so high that the conductor can be damaged. RIOF quench detection is intrinsically faster than voltage taps, and this intrinsic advantage is greater as the coil size and/or current margin increases. We describe the development and testing program performed under the grant.« less
  1. North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Muons, Inc., Batavia, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), High Energy Physics (HEP) (SC-25)
Country of Publication:
United States
43 PARTICLE ACCELERATORS fiber; optic; quench; detection; Rayleigh scattering; high-field; YBCO; accelerator; superconducting magnets