Magnets under extreme temperatures

Award for Lorenzo Bortot in the field of applied superconductivity

2020/02/12 von

Lorenzo Bortot received an IEEE CSC Graduate Study Fellowship in Applied Superconductivity at this year's Magnet Technology Conference in Vancouver. He works at the Chair for Computational Electromagnetics of our department and at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Lorenzo Bortot (right) on the Magnet Technology Conference. Photo: TRIUMF Lab
Lorenzo Bortot (right) on the Magnet Technology Conference. Photo: TRIUMF Lab

Magnets floating above steaming plates: Due to intensive cooling, superconductors reach a state in which electric current flows without resistance. Superconductors are especially interesting and necessary for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the particle accelerator where a world-renowned team of scientists, engineers and technicians cooperate to collide the smallest particles. They are accelerated almost up to the speed of light and reach a rate of one-billion collisions per second. For the particles to remain on their tracks, they must be guided by special magnets whose peak fields and energy densities outreach by far the standards of everyday magnets.

Outreaching standards; For CERN, this phrase seems a matter of course. As is known, the Large Hadron Collider is not only the most powerful particle accelerator, but also the largest refrigerator in the world. Here, with about 10,000 tons of nitrogen, the magnets are pre-cooled to -193 ° C, then to a further -271,3 ° C with the help of 60 tons of liquid helium. Protons that are hunted by the Large Hadron Collider (whose orbit is around 26 kilometers long) can turn a full 11,245 times through the accelerator ring within a second. Numbers that make you dizzy.

Lorenzo Bortot is one of the main executives of the STEAM (Transient Magnetic Transient Simulation Simulation) project, whose goal is to reshape the foundations for the simulation of transient effects in superconducting magnets and circuits on the lifetime of the Large Hadron Collider and beyond. „The project is a great success,“ says Bortot. „It has made significant contributions to theory and application. This is evidenced by several high-impact articles, but also the availability of a mature software platform that is now being productively used by many researchers. “

However, the young scientist also deals with high-temperature superconductivity (short HTS). This field is complex and largely unexplored, as the cost of superconductors was intolerable until not long ago. Recently, HTS has been proposed for nuclear fusion experiments, giving a strong push to research in this field. Currently he works on a new generation of high performance, high fidelity computer models, which support the design and development of the future HTS applications.

Lorenzo Bortot presented some elegant ideas for that new field of superconductivity, „hoping to unleash the tremendous power of HTS also in the development of future accelerator magnets.“ His recent award of the IEEE Fellowship in Applied Superconductivity, which he received at the 26th International Conference of Magnet Technology in Vancouver proved that the scientist is on the right path. „I have a great opportunity to live between two worlds. In fact, my mission is to integrate the rigorous mathematical perspective of the Computational Electromagnetics Group (CEM) at TU Darmstadt and CERN's expertise in accelerator magnets. “

The connecting element between TU Darmstadt and CERN is their claim to excellence. Excellence in work, commitment and strict professionalism are required to shine at the TU Darmstadt as well as at the world machine CERN. In addition, social skills should not be forgotten. Bortot: „CERN is truly a multicultural environment where people from all over the world come together and work together to expand the boundaries of our understanding of the universe.“