Superconducting film technology leads to record performance for low-frequency SRF cavity


A low-frequency, single-cell cavity is under preparation niobium-tin coating. Photo courtesy of Sam Posen

Superconducting radio-frequency (SRF) cavities are the “muscle” of many modern particle accelerators. By cooling these devices to cryogenic temperatures (usually around 2 Kelvin, or minus 456 degrees Fahrenheit) and inputting electric power, SRF cavities increase the energy of beams of charged particles passing through them. Making cavities out of superconducting materials dramatically increases their efficiency (represented by a cavity’s quality factor, or Q), allowing them to accelerate beams to high energies over short distances, without leaving long cool-down times between particle beam pulses.

By Sam Posen .

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