Accelerators have played an important role in the
history of Lawrence Livermore, and it is obvious that they will play an even more significant role in our future. Accelerator science currently constitutes a growing core competency for the Laboratory. One factor driving the growth of our accelerator capability is the fundamental relationship of accelerators to this Laboratory's national security mission.|
Two major national security projects currently under way are using our accelerator expertise. The first is the Department of Energy's study of the Accelerator Production of Tritium (APT). In this facility, accelerator technology will be used to provide a new source for the tritium needed to maintain the safety and reliability of the nation's nuclear stockpile under the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program. Los Alamos National Laboratory is leading a multilaboratory program to design the APT. At the request of the Department of Energy, we recently evaluated the Los Alamos technology incorporated in the preliminary design. We are now in partnership with Los Alamos and Brookhaven National Laboratory to make the APT a reality and will be making innovative-and cost-effective-engineering and physics contributions to final accelerator design.
Another critical national security project is the Advanced Hydrotest Facility. This planned facility will provide substantial improvements in dynamic radiography as a major tool for helping to make nuclear weapons safe and reliable without testing. The facility will be based on new accelerator technology, but it is not immediately obvious whether imaging with flash x rays produced from an electron beam or direct imaging with a proton beam is the better radiographic approach. One of Livermore's unique attributes is our capability not only to evaluate the relative advantages of photon versus proton imaging but also to determine the appropriate accelerator technology for each method.
The other factor driving the growth of our accelerator work is collaborations with other laboratories both in the U.S. and in Europe on large-scale physics research projects. One of our most important-and visible-accelerator collaborations is with the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) to build the B-Factory at SLAC. The B-Factory project, described in an article beginning on p. 4, is one of the most exciting high-energy physics research efforts today. The facility will produce millions of subatomic particles called B mesons, thereby enabling physicists to determine why such a huge discrepancy now exists between the amounts of matter and antimatter in the universe.
The B-Factory is also important because we are demonstrating to the international science community that Lawrence Livermore is an ideal laboratory with which to collaborate in the area of accelerator science. Our B-Factory work has drawn international attention to Livermore's capabilities, in particular the way our physicists and engineers work together to solve problems in accelerator design, technology, and manufacturing. We have long been recognized for our accelerator engineering program. But our B-Factory effort has demonstrated what can happen when physicists work closely with engineers to creatively solve challenging accelerator problems. This world-class physics- engineering team, which is also making contributions to projects in Europe and elsewhere in the U.S., sets Lawrence Livermore apart from others in the nuclear and particle physics research world.
On the horizon is the Next Linear Collider, an exciting project that, like the B-Factory, will take us back to the very moment of the Big Bang. As described in the B-Factory article in this issue of S&TR, the extraordinary power of this new collider will require new accelerator designs and manufacturing methods. Wherever it is built, we are confident Livermore will be a key player in its design. We are working with LBNL and SLAC to tackle the biggest design challenges of the Next Linear Collider.