COnstruction of a Non-scaling FFAG for Oncology, Research and Medicine (CONFORM)
03 Nov 2010






The CONFORM project (link opens in a new window) funds the research and construction of non-scaling FFAGs in the UK. It includes the EMMA NS-FFAG accelerator (to be built at Daresbury), the design of the PAMELA medical FFAG and the investigation of other possible applications of FFAGs (e.g. for Accelerator-Driven Systems).

EMMA (Electron model for Many Applications) will be the first NS-FFAG in the world. As such it will be a proof-of-concept machine to explore in detail the beam dynamics to gain experience in the design and construction of NS-FFAGs, and to benchmark the computer codes employed in the studies. The ring, just 16.6 meters in circumference, consists of 84 small quadrupoles arranged in doublets that both focus and bend the beam.

EMMA is an electron model for a muon accelerator which is planned for a neutrino factory. The fixed field of the magnets means that the acceleration rate can be very fast. This feature is important for muons given their short lifetime. The NS-FFAG also has a large beam acceptance - another advantage for the neutrino factory.

Electron bunches from the ALICE recirculator will be injected into EMMA and accelerated in the range 10-20 MeV. The injection and extraction system must work over the entire energy range to enable flexible operation. Commissioning of EMMA will being towards the end of 2009.

The PAMELA (Particle Accelerator for MEdicaL Applications) design utilises NS-FFAGs to accelerate both carbon ions and protons to 250 MeV for hadron therapy. The potential benefits that NS-FFAGs bring to the medical field include compact size and variable energy extraction. The former is important both from the point of view of cost and to enable the machine to be installed in a hospital environment. The latter would allow fast scanning of the tumour since changing the depth at which the energy of the beam is deposited, i.e. the location of the Bragg peak, depends on its energy.

An extensive R&D programme will evaluate the potential of NS-FFAG accelerators as proton drivers for applications in scientific and technological fields as diverse as energy and environment (eg accelerator driven sub critical reactors, waste transmutation), materials research (eg advanced neutron and muon sources for studies of the structure and dynamics of materials), and fundamental physics (eg the neutrino factory).CONFORM is sponsored by BASROC and has been awarded a multi-million pound grant from the RCUK Basic Technology programme to pursue this research.