Ben Shepherd and Jim Clarke from ASTeC's MaRS group, in collaboration with Norbert Collomb from STFC's Technology Department, have designed and built a prototype of a new type of accelerator magnet. The permanent magnet quadrupole (PMQ) was designed in collaboration with CERN for the Compact Linear Collider (CLIC) project. It uses permanent magnets (rather than electromagnetic coils) to generate a magnetic field - the permanent magnets are movable so that the field can be changed.
Several weeks ago, the large permanent magnets were the last components to arrive at Daresbury. The prototype was built in the Engineering Technology Centre, and magnetic measurements have been taking place to verify the magnetic field against the model. The results agree well with the predictions we made, and measurements will continue in the next few weeks, as well as some modifications to improve the field quality further. A second prototype, operating in a lower field range, is currently in the design stage.
This type of magnet design has been patented by STFC. The magnet uses no electricity to generate its field, in contrast to conventional electromagnets. If the concept is proven, this could have major implications for the design of future accelerators where power consumption is a critical parameter.