Friday March 29, 2013 0 commentsBy Steve Porter
FORT COLLINS - By the end of July, Colorado State University's Foothills Campus will be home to the new Advanced Beams Laboratory that will help CSU advance particle accelerator and laser research and training for faculty and students.
Construction of the laboratory building began last fall and is expected to be finished by July 31. Funding for the lab is coming from a variety of sources, with two of its biggest and most expensive pieces of equipment recently donated to the university.
The side of the facility focusing on particle accelerator research will house a linear accelerator donated from the University of Twente in The Netherlands and a short-pulse, high-peak-power laser system donated from the Boeing Corp.
Electrical and computer engineering professors Sandra Biedron and Stephen Milton will head the particle accelerator portion of the laboratory. Biedron and Milton were recruited by CSU in 2011 based on their long experience with lasers and accelerators, including nearly 20 years at the DOE's Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.
Recently the two were among 15 scientists and engineers handpicked to collect facts for a U.S. Department of Energy report about the future of accelerator science and technology requested by Congress.
The "Accelerator R&D Task Force Report," which included a section on defense and security co-written by Biedron and Milton, was submitted in May of last year.
Milton said the Advanced Beam Laboratory's combination of accelerators and high-power lasers systems will make it "a very unique facility."
"We can discover some interesting things in physics with this combination that would be difficult if not impossible at other laboratories," he said.
Hank Gardner, CSU's associate vice president of research, said Biedron and Milton were recruited based on recommendations from two of the university's senior laser scientists, Jorge Rocca and Carmen Menoni.
"They said we needed to talk to these folks," Gardner said. "They came with a great track record, too, so it wasn't just word-of-mouth. They're world-leading scientists in their field, so it was great to be able to recruit them."
Gardner said bringing in Biedron and Milton, along with the construction of a top-notch laboratory for advanced beam research, should help CSU attract research dollars from a variety of private and government sources.
"That's our anticipation," he said. "You try to bring in the best people you can find along with state-of-the-art equipment, which in turn entices world-class collaborators and ultimately that offers opportunities for research funding."
In recent years, beam accelerators have been used to solve challenges in medicine, energy, defense and security, industry and discovery science. Last May, CSU and Stanford University signed an agreement to collaborate on accelerator research.
In February, CSU announced it had been chosen to host the United States Particle Accelerator School, a national graduate program held twice a year that provides graduate-level educational programs in the science of particle beams and associated accelerator technologies.