Experiments with accelerated particles have already provided many valuable insights for science and society. Accelerators are therefore indispensable in modern research, but the large machines must also function reliably in the field of medicine or within the commercial sphere. The International Particle Accelerator Conference IPAC 2014, which takes place from June 15-20 in Dresden/Germany, will thus include different topics on its agenda: from accelerator projects of the future to alternative concepts and applications such as cancer therapy. The conference is locally organized by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR).
A spectacular topic that has been followed by the public in recent years is proof of the existence of the Higgs particle at CERN, the prediction for which was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 2013. In order to be able to measure this particle more precisely, the energy of the largest particle accelerator in the world--the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) with a circumference of just under twenty-seven kilometres--is to be doubled once again. Researchers from CERN will give a total of eight presentations at the accelerator conference, and other large centres are also represented by multiple speakers. There are more than 30,000 accelerators used worldwide in research and industry.
"Many exciting projects in the field of particle acceleration are currently underway because, with more intense and brilliant radiation, researchers can understand the forces that hold our world together," Dr. Peter Michel of HZDR is excited to say about the global meeting of accelerator experts. It is partly due to his efforts that the IPAC Conference 2014 will take place in Dresden. Stipends for travel and accommodations are available to young international scientists and they may participate in the conference at no charge. The associated commercial exhibition is fully booked with one hundred booths.
The ELBE accelerator at HZDR is tiny in comparison to the LHC, but it can still accelerate particles to about 99.99 percent of the speed of light. It is a very modern model--operated using superconducting technology--of which only two others of its kind currently exist in Europe. A fourth facility of considerable size is under construction with the 3.4-kilometre-long European X-Ray Laser XFEL in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein. A conference presentation is dedicated to the question of how one hundred superconducting modules for the XFEL can be manufactured in cooperation with the commercial sector.
High intensity, high fields, highest performance--the conference presentations are peppered with similar phrases. Accelerator scientists from Europe, the USA and Asia are concerned with, for example, high intensity lasers which are capable of very efficient particle acceleration. With this alternative accelerator concept, the first step for the researchers is to better characterize the processes that occur during the acceleration. Such laser particle accelerators could also be utilised in cancer therapy using proton beams in the future.
The acronym IPAC stands for "International Particle Accelerator Conference." Up until the last five years, members of the global accelerator community attended conferences on their respective continents. The annual worldwide event for scientific and commercial accelerator experts, now in its fifth year, takes place in Germany for the first time. The local Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf is organizing this event, while Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, GSI (Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research) in Darmstadt, and DESY (Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron) in Hamburg are also playing supporting roles. Experts from nearly all international accelerator centres are represented in the various organisational and program committees.