Fourth commissioning cycle started at NICA complex

News, 05 October 2022

On 15 September, another commissioning cycle of the NICA injection complex started at the Joint Institute with a preliminary test phase of the main technological subsystems. Participants of the project expect that the current commissioning cycle will be the key before the entire injection complex is put into operation as a completed element of the NICA project.

After a cycle of technological operations, specialists of the Laboratory of High Energy Physics JINR cooled the magnetic ring systems of the Booster and the Nuclotron accelerators down to the nitrogen temperature. The Booster was then cooled down to the operating temperature of helium. After that, approximately in mid-October, the Nuclotron will begin to cool to helium temperature. Then the Booster and the Nuclotron will be ready to work together. Parallel to the cooling and testing of all major ring accelerator systems, work is underway to produce, accelerate, and prepare heavy ion beams for injection and further acceleration in the Booster.

The main tasks of this commissioning cycle are the acceleration of heavy ions in the linear accelerator (HILAC), the Booster, the Nuclotron, the study of beam dynamics at all stages, the optimisation of operating conditions, and the extraction of accelerated beams for operation at the BM@N facility.

“Multi-charged heavy ions in this cycle will be generated by the KRION-6 cryogenic ioniser, which was installed at the HILAC linear accelerator this summer. Thus, for the first time, argon and xenon heavy ions from KRION-6 will be accelerated at the new linear accelerator, the Booster, and then at the Nuclotron,” Andrey Butenko, Deputy Director of VBLHEP, Head of the commissioning cycle, said.

An important task of the run will be to ensure that the BM@N works with xenon ions accelerated up to the energies of about 2-3 GeV/nucleon, to carry out commissioning work at the BM@N facility, and to start the collection of a new set of statistics in the experiment.

As a reminder, during the previous record long commissioning cycle, the project team achieved simultaneous operation of the three main accelerators of the NICA complex. A beam of carbon ions accelerated to an energy of 3 GeV/n was extracted to the BM@N facility, where large statistics were collected in the SRC (Short Range Correlation) physics experiment.

The fourth commissioning run at the NICA accelerator complex is planned for mid-December 2022.