Swedish Accelerator Unveiled

A new linear accelerator is being built in Lund, Sweden. The European Spallation Source, whose bizarre name will be explained by the end of this article, will begin construction this year.  The plan is to open in 2019 and become fully operational in 2025.

Its centerpiece is a linear accelerator that will use a technique called neutron scattering to gather information that could be used in the fields of energy, telecommunications, manufacturing, transportation, information technology, biotechnology, and health. Particles will be shot along the 600 meter long accelerator toward a heavy metal target. On impact, the particles will emit neutrons, through a process called spallation – hence the name. These neutrons will then flood through beamlines and arrive at experimental stations.

At the ESS Data Management and Software Centre in Copenhagen, researchers will analyze the data collected during these collisions, looking to understand what these particle interactions can tell us about the behavior of our natural world.

While much of Europe is still in the throes of economic turmoil, and one could argue that they have more important things to spend their money on than another giant particle accelerator, the ESS sees its mission as a necessary and vital investment in our understanding of fundamental physics. “Advanced research requires advanced tools. Improved visualization techniques enable researchers to observe our world and universe better. From the very large to the very small, when science moves forward, it is often due to breakthrough improvements in the tools.”

In a recent announcement, the ESS selected Henning Larsen Architects’ plan for the design and construction of the facilities. The HLA design is unique in that it integrates the very thing the ESS is studying, nature, into the core of its design.

“Just as the international science hub that will be developed, the surface of the landscape will be an interwoven patchwork of different fields and meadows,” says Stig Andersson, Creative Director at HLA. “Wild-growing vegetation and fences provide spatial distinction as well as safety barriers. All rainwater management will be handled by a new wetland landscape of lakes, marshes and meadows that also create a dynamic and ever-changing visual and spatial connection between ESS, Max IV and Lund Science Village.”

Images Courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects and ESS