05.11.2015

 

A giant has arrived

Magnet built in France for FAIR delivered to GSI


Heavy load truck from France with the GLAD magnet arriving at GSI and FAIR. (Photo: G. Otto)

The GLAD maget being guided on air cushions into the GSI experiment hall. (Photo: G. Otto)

Employees working on the mount for the GLAD magnet. (Photo: G. Otto)

The GLAD (GSI Large Acceptance Dipole) magnet has arrived today at the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung and FAIR (Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research in Europe). It took one week for the giant 60-ton scientific device to make the 600-kilometer journey from Saclay (near Paris) to GSI in Darmstadt. The superconducting GLAD magnet, which was built at the CEA research center in Saclay, will be used in the R3B experiment at FAIR. With this experiment scientists can investigate the synthesis of the elements in supernovae.

 

About 50 engineers and scientists worked on the development and construction of the magnet over a period of several years and were supported by industry partners. Now, the magnet has arrived at its operation site. A special mobile heavy-duty crane was needed to unload the 60-ton magnet, which was then guided into the experiment hall on air cushions. Precision work was the order of the day, as the hall gate is only a few centimeters larger than the 5.7-meter long, 8.6-meter wide, and 4.3-meter tall magnet.

 

“The GLAD magnet is a key instrument for studying exotic nuclei with large number of neutrons, and it is also an outstanding example of a very technologically demanding project that has now been successfully completed for FAIR within the framework of an international partnership,” says Haik Simon, who managed the project for GSI.

 

Scientists plan to use GLAD and the R3B experiment to determine the properties of rare and highly unstable nuclei that contain large numbers of neutrons. The investigation of these neutron-rich nuclei will greatly increase our understanding of exploding stars, or supernovae. Neutron-rich nuclei are formed in supernovae as intermediate stages in the reactions that create all of the heavy elements such as lead or gold that we find on Earth today.

 

GLAD will initially undergo extensive testing in order to precisely verify its specifications. It will take several months to completely install and connect the newly developed magnet in the experiment unit and cool its coils down to a temperature below -268 degrees Celsius. After that, it will be possible to use the magnet for experiments at the GSI facility and then later at the future FAIR accelerator facility.

 

FAIR’s accelerator facility will for the first time generate sufficiently large numbers of very neutron-rich nuclei, thereby enabling scientists to measure their properties. These measurements will increase our understanding of how elements are created in the universe.




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