Complete Accelerator Systems & Cryomodules

Niowave specializes in complete accelerator systems. Niowave has built superconducting systems for operation at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, University of Wisconsin, Old Dominion University, the Naval Postgraduate School, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin. Niowave also produces cryomodules, the integrated systems that allow the niobium cavity to operate at superconducting temperatures.

Accelerating Cavities & Components

A broad range of cavity types and operating frequencies have been developed for the different types of particles being accelerated and the diverse applications of those particles. Niowave has years of experience fabricating and testing a variety of superconducting cavities from 28 MHz to 9.5 GHz. As one example, Niowave built three different proof-of-principle designs and two different prototype cavity designs for the high luminosity upgrade to the LHC at CERN. These cavities exhibited excellent performance in testing at national laboratories at the US and also at CERN. Further examples are detailed below in the capability history. Niowave also produces many accelerator components including: power couplers, tuners, higher-order mode dampers, steering and corrector magnets, and a variety of diagnostic systems.

Electron Guns / Injectors

Electron guns produce the electron beams that are injected into the accelerating portion of the linac. Niowave has designed, fabricated, and tested a variety of electron guns using photocathodes, thermionic cathodes, and field emission cathodes.

Cryogenic Helium Refrigerators

Niobium based superconducting accelerators are operated at temperatures between 2-4 K (-450˚F). Niowave has developed three 4 K liquid helium refrigerators for a growing commercial superconducting particle accelerator industry. The 5 watt system is the largest cooling capacity 4 K cryocooler available today. We have multiple refrigerators in operation at our test facilities in Lansing, MI with capacities up to 115 W, developed in partnership with Linde Cryogenics.

Microwave Power Source

To accelerate electrons using RF power, amplifiers are used to transmit power to a resonant accelerating cavity. The power that is sent to the cavity is transferred into the electron beam to be used in numerous applications. Niowave uses 60 kW tetrode tube amplifiers to provide power to our superconducting cavities and electron beams.

Niobium & Niobium Alloys

At the heart of superconducting accelerators is a structure made of high-purity niobium. Niobium cavities allow for much higher operating electromagnetic fields and higher duty cycles due to the extremely low-loss electrical properties while superconducting. High loss, normal conducting cavities (e.g.: copper) would be destroyed by overheating from the high-power electromagnetic fields and/or high duty cycle at which superconducting structures operate. Niowave is a primary domestic supplier of high-purity niobium and niobium alloys.

Superconducting Expertise

Niowave has performed over 50 cryogenic tests on over 25 different superconducting cryomodules at our Lansing, Michigan headquarters since 2007. Niowave has established itself as a worldwide expert in superconducting accelerators, with particular expertise in:

  • Complete 4 K superconducting accelerator systems (integrated cryogenics & RF power) for a number of commercial, research, and military applications.

  • Superconducting quarter-wave electron guns (Niowave has operated superconducting electron guns at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University of Wisconsin, and the Naval Postgraduate School).

  • Superconducting spoke structures (Niowave is the first laboratory in the world to accelerate charged particles with a superconducting spoke structure).

  • Superconducting deflecting structures (Niowave built all three successful proof of principle deflecting cavity designs and two prototype designs for the High Luminosity upgrade at the LHC).