Fermilab History and Archives Project

Accelerator History - Booster


Putting the first Booster module in place

Putting the first Booster module in place

Construction of the significant components of the NAL accelerator system continues to proceed on schedule despite wintry blasts and snow-filled fields.

NAL received occupancy of the newly-constructed Booster tunnel on the scheduled contract date---Thursday, February 26, 1970. Appropriately, there was a celebration after the Booster section completed supervising the Belding Engineering Co. moving the first of 48 modules into position in the tunnel. A module consists of two magnets and an energy storage system mounted on a steel girder -- each module weighs approximately 16 tons.

The module was lowered into the hatch by cranes and rolled into place on dollies. Norman Hill, Material Support administrator, was praised for his efforts in coordinating the entire move from the Booster Laboratory in the NAL Village to the Booster tunnel at the permanent site.

Roy Billinge, Booster section leader; Helen Edwards, physicist with the Booster section, and other members of the Booster team were on hand for this historic occasion. It was recorded for posterity by the Argonne Motion Picture unit, under the direction of George Lindholm, and by Tony Frelo, NAL photographer.

There were expressions of gratitude, too, to the Herlihy Mid-Continent Contracting Co. for their work in clearing the area of machinery and debris to make room for installation of the module on schedule.

Source: The Village Crier Vol. 2 No. 9, March 5, 1970


Eventually, many large ponds will exist on the NAL site to provide water for cooling various components of the accelerator and experimental apparatus.

At 10:30 a.m. Monday, July 27, water was turned on for the first time to fill the first of these ponds -- the Central Utility Cooling Pond. It was an informal ceremony with Robert R. Wilson, NAL Director, turning the valve as section leaders and others watched. The purpose was to fill the cooling pond which is primarily for the Booster, the intermediate component in the NAL accelerator system between the Linac and the Main Accelerator.

At first, only a trickle of water appeared in the pond -- but that was the way it was engineered. As time passes, the pond will be constantly filled with water to cool the Booster magnets as they become part of the operational system.

Following is a brief description by Ward Bosworth, NAL Plant Management engineer, on development of the Central Utility Cooling pond:

"The pond provides cooling by exposing a large surface of water to the atmosphere, where for every pound of water evaporated, approximately 250,000 calories of cooling are obtained. These calories leave the pond as the heat or energy that is necessary to change liquid water to water vapor."

"A water spray system has also been installed in this pond to expose additional water surfaces to the air. Further cooling surfaces at the central point have been provided by cooling towers located on the roof of the Central Utility Building. The cooling pond concept has been extended to cool the magnets of the Main Ring in a series of large ponds and a ditch circling the inside of the Ring."

Pond water does not directly come in contact with the magnets. Through heat exchangers the pond water extracts heat from Low Conductivity Water circulating in the magnets (normally referred to as "LCW water"). The LCW water flows in a closed loop pipe system passing successively through the magnets and heat exchangers.

Another use of the pond cooling water is to provide cooling for refrigeration machinery. This refrigeration is used to provide lower temperature LCW water as well as for comfort cooling.

Water begins to flow into first cooling pond

Water begins to flow into first cooling pond

RRW turns the valve for Central Utility Cooling Pond
RRW turns the valve for Central Utility Cooling Pond

Photos by Tony Frelo, NAL

Source: The Village Crier Vol. 2 No. 31, August 6, 1970


Roy Billinge

Roy Billinge

Progress continues to be made by the men and women working towards completion of the Booster in the NAL accelerator system -- that vital intermediate accelerator that will give the protons 8 BeV energy as they are bound for the Main Ring.

On Friday evening, July 31, powering of the first quarter of the rapid-cycling synchrotron was accomplished. Roy Billinge, Booster section leader, explained that "the endeavor involved virtually everyone in the Booster section and represented a very significant step toward completion of this accelerator."

The first section of the Booster ring was powered to a magnetic field equivalent to 8 BeV.

The occasion also marked the first successful operation of NAL's central control system using the new "control language." Simple instructions such as "set magnet on" were typed into the control computer to turn on the power supply and adjust the magnetic field level in the quarter-ring. The control computer routed these messages to a "mini-computer" in the West Booster Gallery which then interpreted them and sent commands to the appropriate interface module. The module then translated and stored the required conditions in a suitable form to operate the power supply.

Billinge said that the next milestone on the Booster group calendar is to power one-half of their proton synchrotron during the month of September, prior to taking a beam from the Linac, bending it half the circle and passing it out to the Main Ring.

Incidentally, development of the new special "control language" for NAL was under the direction of Donald Edwards, Accelerator Theory, who is controls coordinator for the entire NAL Accelerator system. He worked with Lowell Klaisner and Keith Rich as a special controls task team in developing a computer language for the accelerator. The language will be used in the "mini" computers to be linked with the main computer center.

Source: The Village Crier Vol. 2 No. 32, August 13, 1970


Belding Engineering Co. employees
Belding Engineering Co. employees use rope pulley instrument
called a "come-along" to install the 48th girder supporting final
pair of Booster Ring magnets. Roy Billinge, Booster Section
Chief, stands at far right watching the event. Behind Billinge
is Bob Peters, NAL physicist.

Photo by Tony Frelo, NAL

It was a busy, fruitful December for NAL’s Booster Section. Approximately four months ahead of its original and formal schedule, the Booster group completed the precise installation of the 48 complex girders carrying 96 magnets in the 500-foot diameter Booster tunnel at the Main Site.

The heavy installation work was completed at noon on Monday, December 14; a week later, on December 21, the Booster Ring was completely aligned and a vacuum was achieved all around. The first "topping off" was observed with an informal party in the tunnel; the second was celebrated with a party at a restaurant near the NAL site.

In the impressive and intricate triad of the NAL accelerator system, the Booster, so to speak, is the "sensitive middle-man" -- the vital link between the Linear Accelerator and the Main Accelerator. The NAL Booster is designed to accelerate protons to Eight Billion Electron Volts (BeV) at the rate of 15 pulses per second.

The Booster, which will receive the proton beam from the Linac at an energy of 200 Million Electron Volts (MeV), is one of the few "rapidcycling" booster synchrotrons in the world. In the esoteric field of elementary particle physics, two other "booster" accelerators are being built at this time -- one at CERN in Switzerland for its 28 BeV accelerator and another for the Zero Gradient Synchrotron at the Argonne National Laboratory.

The NAL Booster synchrotron, unlike the Main Accelerator’s separated function system, is a combined-function design, but in many other respects it is similar to the Main Accelerator. It is housed in a similar semi-underground enclosure, with equipment galleries above. Earth shielding will keep radiation levels in the galleries below permissible tolerance levels.

Cross Gallery "travel-lift" machine lowers 48th girder
Cross Gallery "travel-lift" machine lowers 48th girder,
supporting final two Booster magnets

Photo by Tony Frelo, NAL

Each of the 48 steel girders in NAL’s Booster Ring has two magnets, which are made of laminated silicon steel sheets 1/40th of an inch thick. Each girder is 23 feet long and four feet in height, includes three capacitor banks, a titanium-ion vacuum pump and a transformer. Full power tests are being carried out on the Ring, including power supply operation through the control system.

Roy Billinge, Booster Section Leader, is pleased by the accomplishments of his staff. He lauds the team work of his group and the support of many sub-contractors. For example, when a major problem developed with one of the magnet suppliers, Will Hanson was able to increase magnet fabrication in the Booster Lab Building reaching a peak production rate of two magnets per week. The fabrication crew, under the leadership of Leo Ray and including Del Miller and Bob Jensen, built more than twice as many magnets as orginally planned so that about one-third of the installed magnets were built here at NAL.

Prior to installation in the enclosure the Booster "modules" undergo pre-assembly at the Main Ring’s West Chicago facility under the supervision of John Clark. In parallel with this, magnets are measured carefully by optical means by Jon Sauer and Bobby McNeal. They are then optically set on the girder and all power and water connections made, under the supervision of Jim Humbert. Next, the module is powered, in series with a "standard" module, and by means of current carrying wires stretched through the magnet gaps. At this point, Bob Peters and Harland Gerzevske compare the magnetic fields of the production magnets with the standard prototypes. The vacuum chamber is then welded in place, between the magnets, the vacuum pump installed, and the whole assembly leak-checked.

Following installation in the Ring, the modules are surveyed into position by Jim Walton, Tom Topolski and Billy Shumate. Finally, the module is connected to the power/cooling supply and integrated into the Ring vacuum system by Umer Patel and his team of technicians.

"During January," says Billinge, "we hope to begin attempts to circulate a proton beam around the Booster. And, we are expecting to get acceleration during February. Once we have achieved acceleration, somewhere about one BeV, we expect to extract the beam and transport it to the Main Ring.

"There are more persons who should be thanked for their work than I can name here," says Billinge. Re especially noted the untiring efforts of his Associate Section Leader, Helen Edwards. Among others were Ed Hubbard, Roland Juhala and Bill Martin, for their efforts on the 200 MeV beam-transport system; Lowell Klaisner and John Dinkel for their work on the controls and beam detectors. "I simply cannot say enough good things about all of the Booster people. I just think they have done a great job," says Billinge.

Among contractors Billinge cited employees of Belding Engineering Company of West Chicago, who had worked with efficiency and diligence to transport and place the Booster girders properly in the tunnel. 1971 will continue to be a busy year for the Booster group. On his calendar, Billinge has several more major milestones to be achieved. Most important is to record a Booster accelerator energy of Eight Bev by about May 1.

Source: The Village Crier Vol. 3 No.1, January 7, 1971


Scope display of first Booster beam to 8 GeV. Upper trace is beam intensity; middle trace is beam pulse
Scope display of first Booster beam to 8 GeV. Upper trace
is beam intensity; middle trace is beam pulse

Another and a major milestone was achieved by the Booster section at approximately 2:20 a.m., Friday, May 21, when the Booster achieved its full design beam energy of 8 billion electron volts for the first time.

The Booster is the second major accelerator in series used to accelerate protons in the NAL system. It is a rapid-cycling synchrotron approximately 500 feet in diameter.

The milestone was achieved under the direction of Helen Edwards, Booster section chief. Among others present were Harlan Gerzevske, Bob Peters, Ed Hubbard, John Sauer, of the Booster section, Curtis Owen, Jim Walker, Gerry Ortlieb, and Les Wahl of the Linac section. They were joined later in the early morning hours by Al Maschke, Bob Daniels and RRW.

Also on hand in the West Gallery at the time of the Booster milestone were several members of the Radio-Frequency staff who were tuning the high level R.F. to its maximum power, including Quentin Kerns, Gerald Tool and Stan Tawzer.

The machine had been turned off the previous day for repairs and maintenance. It was turned on at about 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 20, and the energy gradually built up to the 8 BeV design level.

After the achievement, a party to observe the occasion was held by the Booster and Meson groups. The affair also served as a "farewell party" for Roy Billinge, who had served as head of the Booster section until recently when he took over direction of the Meson group. The Meson group consists primarily of people who were in the Booster section during its construction and they still aid in fabrication of special magnets. Billinge has accepted an appointment at Geneva, Switzerland, where he will become a member of the team assigned to develop and construct the new 300-GeV particle accelerator sponsored by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

MONITORING THE BOOSTER BEAM: Alan J. Maier and Mark J. Kibilko (left to right) at the control panel during the first full week of Booster operation as it prepares to inject a beam into the Main Ring
Mark J. Kibilko (left to right) at the control panel during the first full
week of Booster operation as it prepares to inject a beam into
the Main Ring.
AT THE CONTROL PANEL: Ed Hubbard, Harlan Gerzevske, and Helen Edwards, all of Booster, (left to right) show their pleasure at the achievement of Booster's full design energy at 8 BeV.
AT THE CONTROL PANEL: Ed Hubbard, Harlan Gerzevske, and
Helen Edwards, all of Booster, (left to right) show their pleasure at
the achievement of Booster's full design energy at 8 BeV.

On December 14, 1970, the Booster section installed the last of 96 magnets in its "circle." At about 12:30 a.m., Saturday, January 23, 1971, a proton beam was injected from the Linac and "coasted" around the entire Booster accelerator ring for the first time. Protons were accelerated to 1 BeV in the Booster at 6:00 a.m., Saturday, February 6, 1971, a notable milestone for both the R.F. and the Booster sections.

Almost all of April was spent in a shakedown period on the Booster. The magnet power supply operated with good reliability and experiments were performed to accelerate the beam and give a 2 BeV beam to Beam Transfer for tune up. Most of the work was aimed toward achieving stable operation of the high power rf systems and on bringing the phase and radial feedback loops of the beam-controlled low-level rf system into operation.

Meantime, the Main Accelerator staff was busy tuning and coasting a low-energy proton beam from the Booster into the completed sectors of the Main Ring. At 7:10 a.m., Saturday, May 29, the beam had reached the B-21 point in the largest component of the NAL accelerator system.

As the power supply testing is underway, the Main Ring tunnel is being secured every night. Four two-man teams complete the search and close the interlock chains in approximately 90-minute periods.

Source: The Village Crier Vol. 3 No. 22, June 3, 1971