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Examples of International Partnership

Several examples of TRIUMF’s involvement in international collaborations are highlighted here.

Example 1. The TITAN Facility

TITAN was first proposed in 2002 as a spectrometer for short-lived isotopes using a Penning trap. The critical component that provides the “charge-state boosting” is the electron beam ion trap (EBIT). Canada had limited expertise in the design and construction of an EBIT, and one had never before been coupled to a rare-isotope beam facility. These challenges were overcome thanks to TRIUMF’s connection to the Max-Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics (MPI-K) in Heidelberg, Germany. A joint project was initiated and a memorandum of understanding was signed outlining the tasks of the two partners, MPI-K and TRIUMF. TRIUMF provided expertise for coupling trap systems to an accelerator-based beam line, and MPI-K contributed its unique EBIT expertise.

During the entire two-year construction and commissioning phase, the TITAN group stationed a post-doctoral researcher and a graduate student in Heidelberg. Both the student and the post-doc have returned to Canada, bringing their newly acquired expertise. A group from Heidelberg came to help set up their equipment and integrate it into the TITAN experiment. A second Canadian post-doctoral researcher, who had previously worked at Heidelberg, is now in charge of the TITAN-EBIT and brings unique expertise to TRIUMF. In the meantime, having successfully operated the system at TRIUMF, the researchers from MPI-K are planning to carry out experiments in Vancouver. Moreover, upgrades at ISAC-II now foresee an EBIT charge breeder based on the local expertise gained from this international collaboration.

Example 2. The ATLAS Experiment

The ATLAS experiment at CERN is an example of TRIUMF’s role as the keystone of Canadian participation in the world’s largest scientific endeavors. ATLAS was conceived to undertake the incredible task of searching for, and understanding, the origin of mass, the highest priority in particle physics. To obtain the high energy needed for this quest, the accelerator (the Large Hadron Collider-LHC) required an international collaboration. The experiment has taken a decade and a half to design, build, and commission, even with the combined efforts of 2,000 scientists and a corresponding army of technical staff. Every country with a significant scientific community, including Canada, is involved.

TRIUMF accelerator physicists had unique expertise for the design and construction of critical parts of the accelerator. The resulting accelerator contributions were a necessary part of the Canadian investment in the project. TRIUMF is also home to the ATLAS-Canada Data Centre, funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation. This centre will pre-process the raw data from the experiment prior to analysis by Canadian and foreign researchers. It will also provide domestic detector experts access to raw data for detailed calibration and monitoring.

Four CRC chairs are involved in this exciting research, and TRIUMF has managed to attract CERN staff member, Dr. Isabel Trigger, back to Canada to lead Canadian analysis efforts of ATLAS data.

Example 3. T2K

Discoveries of neutrino oscillations in solar and atmospheric neutrinos by Super-Kamiokande (Japan) and SNO (Canada) opened an exciting new era in neutrino physics. Building on these successes, TRIUMF and Japanese scientists initiated the T2K (Tokai to Kamioka) long baseline neutrino project in 2000. This project has grown into an international collaboration of 12 countries from Europe, Japan, and North America, including all the G8 nations.

The Canadian group introduced key components of the experimental design, such as the off-axis beam concept. TRIUMF accelerator/beam line expertise provided critical input to the neutrino beam line design. Handling of the extremely high radiation is paramount at a neutrino facility. For this, TRIUMF engineers, in collaboration with KEK (Japan) and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory group (UK), contributed to the design and construction of the remote handling mechanism in the target station. For the detector construction, the Canadian group is in charge of some of the most challenging and critical items of the project: the time projection chamber (TPC), fine-grained calorimeter (FGD), and optical transition radiation detector (OTR). These high-profile international contributions were only possible with strong support from TRIUMF. At the same time, accumulated detector expertise such as precision machining of the large TPC, development of scintillator extrusion techniques and fabrication of readout electronics, will be important assets for future Canadian projects. The high profile Canadian role in the T2K collaboration attracted excellent young scientists to Canada, such as S. Oser (UBC, CRC Chair, Sloan Fellow) and Hirohisa Tanaka (UBC, IPP research scientist).

Example 4. Collaboration with the Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre in India

The Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC) in Kolkata is managed and operated by the Government of India’s Department of Atomic Energy. VECC is presently commissioning a superconducting cyclotron and several rare-isotope beam accelerators, and they are planning the construction of several additional linear accelerators. TRIUMF’s technical expertise in accelerator systems and its reputation for scientific excellence make it a natural partner for the VECC research program. VECC and TRIUMF are both members of the world-wide Tesla Technology Collaboration (TTC), a collaboration of 45 institutes engaged in the free exchange of knowledge and technology aimed at applications of superconducting RF accelerator technology.

TRIUMF and VECC are both developing plans to build new 50 MeV superconducting radio-frequency electron linear accelerators to produce rare-isotope beams using actinide targets. The collaboration with VECC will allow the TRIUMF e-linac project to proceed on a faster time schedule by sharing technical expertise, resources, and costs. This arrangement benefits VECC in a similar manner. The goal of the first phase of the VECC-TRIUMF partnership is to develop jointly a single cavity horizontal test cryomodule. Two will be built: one for VECC and the other for TRIUMF. The cavities will be constructed by PAVAC, a local company, thereby bringing industrial activity and expertise to Canada. TRIUMF and VECC will fully develop all aspects of cavity production. Scientific and engineering staff of VECC and TRIUMF will collaborate to develop the design and subsequently to build the required infrastructure. It is expected that Indian physicists and engineers will make extended visits to TRIUMF to share and jointly develop technical expertise.