by Leonid SHIRSHOV, research scientist, State Research Center "Institute of High Energy Physics"
Protvino-one of a chain of research centers, or what we call "science towns", around Moscow-has marked its 40th birthday. April 19,1960 was the day when they laid the first brick, so to speak, into the foundation of the Serpukhov proton accelerator of 76 GeV.
The building of the world's most powerful proton synchrotron, more than twice as powerful as all of its contemporaries in the United States and Europe, called for the concerted efforts of practically the whole of this country. The accelerator, designed by some of Russia's leading brains, incorporated magnets and other parts and components manufactured by plants in different parts of this country. The scientific backing to these efforts was provided by the Moscow Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics (ITEP) headed by Professor V. Vladimirsky, later a Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy.
The Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP) was opened in Protvino in 1963 under the scientific direction of Academician Nikolai Bogolyubov. Its Managing Director was Professor A. Logunov (later Academician). The accelerator was placed inside an annular tunnel about 1.5 km long. Located in a pine forest around it were the institute buildings and apartment houses for the staff. The "science town", deriving its name from the local Protva river, now has a total population of 38.4 thousand. Out of the 20.2 thousand of its gainfully employed residents some 4 thousand are on the staff of the Institute of High Energy Physics and another 1,200 are working at various industrial units which are booming here now.
Located next to IHEP is the Progress Factory of what they call "non-standard equipment" and the ZEMO electrical engineering plant. These three main centers in our town used to be subordinated to the USSR Ministry of Atomic Power Engineering which was commonly known as SREDMASH (today it is MINATOM of the Russian Federation).
The Progress plant specialized in the manufacture of machinery and equipment for atomic power stations and also supplied low-voltage gear for electrical distribution units. ZEMO produced aerospace equipment for Russian satellites. Apart from that the two centers provided instruments and equipment for some unique physics experiments ordered by IHEP.
In 1980 the Soviet government passed a decision to set up in Protvino a new accelerator and pile-up complex for proton beams of up to 3 TeV. Building specialists from the Moscow subway were called in who dug an underground tunnel of more than 20 kilometers for the new research unit. Today at the depth of some 50 meters there is a ring tunnel-like one of the subway tunnels under Moscow-which has a diameter of 5 meters. IHEP was oriented at a program of fundamental research on the basis of its U-70 proton synchrotron which was commissioned in 1967 and it had 8 discoveries(*) on its record.
Beginning from 1970 the Institute staff launched studies into nuclei of antimatter which led them to the discovery of the antinuclei of helium-3 (two antiprotons and one antineutron) and antitritium (one antiproton and two antineutrons). All in all, more than 180 experiments were staged on U-70 and many of them with the participation of physicists from Western Europe, the United States and Japan.
Increased automation requirements of the accelerator complex and the challenge of rapid processing of large volumes of research data called for the establishment of adequate data- handling facilities and an appropriate center was set up in 1965. Within a span of two years its experts developed an advanced data-handling system which collects and processes data from the experimental units making it possible to control and direct the progress of experiments on a real-time scale (such as bubble chamber studies).
The project for the Russian-American Polarization Experiment for studies of the inner structure
* See: L. Shirshov, "Second Spring at Thirty", Science in Russia, No. 4, 1998.-Ed.
of nucleons was prepared in 1996 on the initiative of Academician Yu. Prokoshkin and Professor A. Krish of Michigan University. The decision on its implementation was taken in 1997 and united the efforts of scientists from the Institute of High Energy Physics, the Joint Institute of Nuclear Research (Dubna), the St. Petersburg Institute of Nuclear Physics (Gatchina) and Michigan University.
The basic component of the experimental unit was a polarization target designed by a Dubna researcher B. Neganov and used for over 20 years in U-70 experiments. Its crosswise activation takes place in a magnetic field of up to 2T1 with super-high magnetic pumping. To achieve the highest degree of orientation of nuclei spin in this field its nonhomogeneity should be less than 0.01 percent.
In order to maintain prolonged (for 48 hours) polarization of the target it is cooled down to a super-low temperature which differs from the absolute zero (-273C) by only 15 mK. This requires considerable quantities of liquid helium (some 1,000 1 per one experiment).
The researchers have tested slow proton beam extraction at the energy of 70 GeV and the intensity at the level of 5 min protons per cycle using small length bent silicon crystals* which makes it possible to conduct experiments at different channels at one and the same time. Simultaneously statistical data was accumulated and instruments' calibration conducted at VES (apical spectrometer), RAMPAX, etc.
On the initiative of RAS Corresponding Member V. Obraztsov, institute scientists prepared a project for generating an intense K-meson beam (particles which help investigate the microworld) at the slow beam outlet of the U-70 synchrotron. In this case a proton beam of 70 GeV, hitting an aluminum target some 40 cm long, will generate a broad spectrum of charged particles of which K-mesons should be singled out. Earlier experiments with these particles conducted at different high-energy labs (CERN-Switzerland, IHEP, KEK-Japan and ENAL-USA) used pulsed mode in which a beam
* See:. L. Shirshov, "Light at the End of a Crystal?", Science in Russia, No. 4, 1997. -Ed.
of particles can be observed for microseconds only.
In order to produce a beam on the proton extraction channel of U-70 researchers proposed using a separator device on the basis of two resonators which makes it possible to single out the necessary particles.
Two such resonators, set some 50 m apart, produce synchronous effect, a kind of a "knock" at the extracted clot of elementary particles. This makes it possible to single out particles with a preset ratio between their momentum and mass. The first of the resonators-a superconducting one-is used at a frequency of 2.865 Hz (electromagnetic waves of 10 cm). The HF input is supplied with the help of a special linkup system and part of the output is "branched off", amplified and fed to the second resonator tuned to the same frequency. The precision of the mutual phasing of the two devices and their frequency stabilization must be maintained at a level which can be figuratively described as a razor blade error over the distance between Moscow and Simferopol in the Crimea.
The total liquid helium output of the cryogenic shop of the Institute exceeds 22 thousand liters, all of which was used for tests of components of the superconducting separator. Temperature close to the absolute zero was maintained in the cryostat, some 4 m in length, which cooled the separator.
Thus IHEF scientists were the first to put into operation this superconducting resonator of a large size. At the same time they tested a couple of identical accelerator deflectors which provided the basis of the superconducting separator. The success of the first stage of these experiments gave grounds to expect to obtain by the end of the year 2002 a beam of K- mesons for studies of rare decays.
Today Protvino has a truly international reputation as a high-energy physics research center. Its staff, headed by Academician A. Logunov, have built up a research potential which makes it possible to tackle complicated problems encountered in current studies of the microworld.
On the more down-to-earth side of the situation, Russia's transition to a market economy put on the agenda the task of conducting
a land-survey providing reliable data on the size and conditions of plots of land, buildings and communications, industrial and natural sites. The database containing all these details in a digital form had to be intertied with the reference system of calculations and assessment obtained with the help of global positioning satellites. And research scientists specializing in high-energy physics decided to help tackle this problem in conjunction with aerospace experts (ZAO SOVINFORMSPUTNIK staff members). Our scientists have accumulated a wealth of experience in the processing of film data on events in the world of elementary particles obtained from MIRABEL and LUDMILA bubble chambers (these have been used at IHEF since 1971).
For the processing of data from large bubble chambers they developed a semi-automatic scanning and measuring system which cut down considerably the time of the processing of experimental data, helping to single out a particular event from a background of millions of other collisions. The accuracy of coordinate attribution by size of generated particles was at the micron level. The track patterns were sufficiently diverse and their lengths were measured in meters. What is more, at the start of the 1970s a unique measuring-computing complex was added for the processing of stereo images from bubble and spark chambers, which made it possible to process more than 12 min images. This set includes 10 viewing and measuring projectors each of which is a large-size photo enlarger the size of a two- storeyed house.
Located on the top floor are the optico-mechanical gear, including lights and projectors, a system of film winding and a precision picture frame with attachments for high-precision counts at diffraction lattices. On the ground floor there is the operator seat with a large projection screen and scanning controls. At the present time the system parameters are geared to the processing of aerospace data and used for the preparation of the aforesaid land survey.
In recent years the methods of studies of events at high energies with the help of tracking chambers with optical data uptake have started
to replace electronic data processing without the intermediate photo recording. Some of the reasons for the change are: higher energies of charged particles, higher standards of electronic equipment and new possibilities of computer equipment in the processing of large databanks. As a result, the load on the systems of processing of photo images of events from bubble chambers has diminished and the unique equipment has been used for dealing with the formidable task of surveying the expanses of the Russian Federation and preparing the relevant documentation.
With this aim in view the Regional Center of Land Survey Data Technologies was set up in Protvino in 1995 under the leadership of Professor B. Utochkin. Its specialists decided to translate into an electronic digital format mapping data accumulated on topographic maps of the scale of 1:500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 and also from space and aerial photos. This will make it possible to rapidly process data on the conditions of land plots with reference to archives information and including the elimination of flawed images. The recording of measurements data on files is conducted in a format geared to subsequent processing by data storage systems and graphic printouts. The accumulated information is augmented with semantic data (street names, house numbers and site symbols) and is attached to the geodetic system of coordinates.
In recent time the IHEP has been acquiring recognition as an agency capable of handling some difficult orders from building designers and architects. One of their "products" is a rotonda-fountain built at the Nikitskiye Vorota Square in Moscow in front of a church where the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin celebrated his wedding. The fountain was built for the 200th birthday of the poet. Its semispheric dome, 3 meters in diameter, is made of a number of metal strips, or petals, covered with gilt imitation. The dome rests upon a set of columns whose strength was calculated by engineers of an aircraft factory producing the celebrated MIG fighters.
Some of the other recent developments in Protvino include the launching of an Innovations Center and the opening, in February 2000,
of an exhibition of scientific and technological innovations featuring some of the most promising plans and suggestions from various agencies and organizations. One of the most luring of these projects is a medical center for the treatment of malignancies with carbon ions. Experiments are already in progress on using an I-100 linear accelerator for such medical applications and a source of C ions has been developed on the basis of a laser unit. The center should be able to treat up to 5,000 patients a year.
Another development is an X-ray unit, designed at the Moscow Institute of Radio Engineering, for the detection of illegal drugs and explosives at airports. Tests have shown that the new portable system can detect with great confidence hidden heroin and explosives and the Institute plans to produce as many as 120 such detectors a year.
Twin-phase syphons, developed for space applications, are now offered for new construction work in permafrost areas, and the Institute is also putting on the market generators of oxygen and hydrogen on the basis of a catalyst used for the decomposition of ordinary water. There is also a compact nitrogen-oxygen generator operating on the basis of compressed air. And it is really quite a job trying to describe in lesser or greater details each of the 68 entries featured at the exhibition of the Innovations Center.
Engaged in what we call small-business activities in Protvino are close upon 1,000 firms and entrepreneurs. Set up recently was an Experimental Technology Factory which produces acetylene for technical applications and also offers for export equipment for obtaining the necessary components from air. Small-size generators of nitrogen are in high demand and can be used in hothouses and other premises which require inert gas.
The year 1999 saw the first enrollment of students to the local branch of Dubna International University. The center will give priority to student training in what we call information technologies- an area fully in line with our experience and traditions here at Protvino.
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