Site-Directed Research and Development logo, green and blue with orange writing

SDRD Highlight: Feasibility Study becomes Strategic Initiative to improve critical skills for Scorpius

Site-Directed Research and Development logo, green and blue with orange writing

In FY 2023, the lead for the Accelerator Beam Science and Target Interactions S&T Thrust Area proposed an SDRD Feasibility Study to identify critical skill gaps in accelerator science that will be crucial to operating and maintaining the NNSS’ first large-scale linear accelerator, Scorpius. Working with the scientists and engineers at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, more commonly referred to as SLAC, the lead and his team identified common topics of interest that are invaluable to our mission on Scorpius including electron accelerator operations and maintenance, beam physics, performance optimization, and machine tuning using machine learning/artificial intelligence. Trevor’s initial study proposed that we engage in a mutually beneficial relationship with SLAC where NNSS mentors, SLAC advisors, students, and post-docs will all be aligned and able to collaborate on linear accelerator science. His proposal was accepted and awarded an SDRD project for FY 2024.

DARHT Axis-II Accelerator Hall where NNSS and LANL scientists collaborate on accelerator science research.

The lead will serve as the principal investigator for this project, taking on the first Strategic Initiative for SDRD in many years. SDRD’s Program Director and Chief Scientist reinstated the call for Strategic Initiatives in the FY24 SDRD Broad Site Announcement. Not only will this project further expand essential skills in accelerator science at the NNSS, but it will also develop accelerator capabilities for future operation and maintenance needs across the Weapons Complex, perform fundamental research to better understand and mitigate beam-target interactions, and establish opportunities to collaborate with our DOE national lab partners at SLAC.

Congratulations to the team on proving the feasibility and necessity of this project. We look forward to the advances in critical skills and relationships made possible by this work!