Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) is dedicated to answering basic and applied science questions that range “from the birth of our universe to the sustainable energy technology of tomorrow.” Recently, they announced the construction of a test accelerator they call the “Energy-Recovery Linac,” or CBETA, at Cornell University.

The CBETA will reportedly recycle energy by intertwining particle beams through chains of multi-pass permanent magnets in a Halbach array, which augments the magnetic field on one side and cancels the opposite field to near zero. This would revolutionize accelerator science, helping to reduce both cost and size, and fusing the best traits of linear and circular accelerators.

How Does The CBETA Work?

The CBETA uses strung-together magnets, which resemble a sort of beaded necklace, to form a “return loop.” The loop then transmits groups of electrons to an accelerator. Within its three to four rotations around the loop, the electrons’ energy will peak before decreasing again during the next three to four rotations.

Throughout the process, the energy stored in the beam can be reused for the next round of acceleration. The energy recovery rate – expected to land near 99 percent – would make the superconducting energy accelerator state-of-the-art in terms in terms of efficiency.  

“The bunches at different energies are all together in the return loop, with alternating magnetic fields keeping them oscillating along their individual paths,” explained mechanical engineer Joseph Tuozzolo. “But then they merge and enter the linac sequentially. As one bunch goes through and gets accelerated, another bunch gets decelerated and the energy recovered from the deceleration can accelerate the next bunch.”

Why Permanent Magnets?

The Brookhaven team of scientists decided to use permanent magnets because, unlike electromagnets, they don’t require electricity. This choice reduces the amount of energy and overall cost needed to operate the accelerator efficiently.

BNL says, “The energy-saving potential of the CBETA technology cannot be understated. By recovering the energy of the spent beam through deceleration in superconducting radio-frequency (SRF) cavities, ERLs can recycle that energy to accelerate new bunches, combing the dense beam of a linear accelerator with the high current of a storage ring to achieve significant RF power savings.”

In addition to energy creation, magnet technology could be used in accelerators to reduce the size of already-small computer chips, or in the health applications industry to produce medical isotopes and deliver high-energy protons to target tumors. Also, beam-delivery systems (made of smaller permanent magnets) could reduce the cost of the particle-beam cancer-therapy accelerator, making it a more widely available treatment.

Use Apex Magnets Today

As you can see, permanent magnets are instrumental in a variety of industries. They’re on the forefront of advances that better our entire society. However, the proper use of these magnets can become complicated by the many variables that impact magnet usability, strength, and safety.

For this reason, Apex is more than happy to discuss the intended use of any permanent magnet purchase. If you aren’t sure which of our products suit your needs, call us 24 hours a day at (1-304) 257-1193. We pride ourselves on being equal parts knowledgeable and available to you.

If you feel more confident, please visit our custom order form. It still provides some guidance and also allows you to make large-scale, specialized orders.