The world’s newest particle accelerator Fermilab’s 150 GeV main injector officially began its career on 1 June. The US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, the Speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastert and Illinois Governor George Ryan joined Fermilab staff and visiting scientists in celebrating the on-time, under-budget completion of the $260 million project.
“It has taken seven years to reach this dedication day a long time,” said Fermilab director John Peoples, whose 10 year term in office has spanned the entire project.
The new main injector will, literally, be a major boost for Fermilab’s centrepiece machine the superconducting Tevatron proton synchrotron and protonantiproton collider.
In 1991 a $2.2 million challenge grant from the state of Illinois enabled Fermilab to take the first steps towards building the new main injectors. Federal funding was approved in October 1991, and construction got under way in 1993.
The main injector team worked together so well that a new storage ring the antiproton recycler was added to the accelerator complex without increasing the total project budget or delaying its scheduled completion.
The recycler, which shares the new, 2 mile, circular tunnel with the main injector, uses permanent magnets to retrieve, store and literally recycle antiprotons that would previously have been discarded.
The Tevatron, which began operations in 1983, was previously fed by Fermilab’s original main ring, closed in 1997 after 25 years of service. The Tevatron and the main ring shared the same 4 mile circumference tunnel. As the Tevatron injector, the main ring was a bottleneck in the antiproton supply.