77th ISCC Meeting

2nd November 2016

Present: B. Blank, R. Catherall (P.T.), J. Cederkall (P.T.), H. Fynbo, M.J. Garcia-Borge, P. Greenlees, K. Johnston, N. Marginean, A. Nannini, M. Pfützner, L. Schweikhard, N. Severijns, S. Siem,

Excused:  A. Algora (replaced by O. Tengblad), K. Bharuth-Ram (replaced by H. Masenda),   K. Blaum, S. Gilardoni, S. Harissopulos (voting proxy given to J. Weterings), D. Jenkins (replaced by D. Doherty), Y. Kadi, E. McGlynn, M. Venhart (replaced by M. Veselsky)  

Absent: U. Datta Pramanik

Invited: F. Formenti (P.T.), M. Kowalska (P.T.), K. Lynch (P.T.), J.A. Rodriguez (P.T.), W. Venturini (P.T.)

(P.T. = Part Time attendance)

The meeting starts at 09:00 h

1. Introductory remarks

B. Blank, the new ISCC chairperson, opens the meeting and welcomes O. Tengblad, D. Doherty, M. Veselsky and H. Masenda who are replacing A. Algora (Spain), D. Jenkins (U.K), M. Venhart (Slovakia) and K. Bharuth-Ram (South Africa) respectively at this meeting. B. Blank informs the committee that for the time being he will remain the representative for France.

2. Approval of the Minutes of the last meeting of June 28th, 2016

The minutes from the previous meeting are approved.

3. Assembly of the 3rd cryomodule and development of new cavities

Walter Venturini

W. Venturini summarised the status of the cavities for the 3rd cryomodule and the committee is reminded of the strategy developed to cope with issues that have arisen with the cavities. The company RI will continue to produce the cavities up to Q20 with efforts being made to improve the quality but production of further cavities will be transferred. The last two cavities, which have now arrived at CERN, will be re-internalized. The EN-MME group has made excellent progress with the CERN produced cavities (QS22 and QS23); they are on schedule to be ready by the end of 2016.  A new seamless design for further cavities has been developed and an external company, with the ability to fulfil the order, has been identified. Negotiations are now underway with RI to decide who covers the extra costs incurred due to the cavity issues. M.J.G. Borge requests a written report on this matter.

The assembly planning for the 3rd cryomodule is presented and the committee told that assembly should be complete by the end of 2016.

W. Venturini explains that there will be a critical manpower issue in the RF team for HIE-ISOLDE phase 2 as there is a risk of losing a key team member and no time to training someone new. A solution is being sort and support is requested from the ISOLDE Collaboration.

4. Operation of the machine

Jose Alberto Rodriguez Rodriguez

The committee is first informed that the maximum A/q of the machine has recently been lowered by the new RF team to 4.33 from 4.5. This is due to the ageing of components and should normally only affect heavy ion beams.

Highlights of the beam commissioning are then presented with its focus on:

  • slow extraction from REX-EBIS

  • HIE-ISOLDE beam diagnostics low-level and high-level control software

  • Superconducting cavities

  • New Time Of Flight (TOF) system

  • Energy cross-calibration using stable beam

J. A. Rodriguez Rodriguez explains that it has been concluded that the reliability of the timing system, i.e. the synchronization of TRAP and EBIS, and several REX RF and SRF cavities which, tripped quite often, needs to be improved.

The operation of HIE-ISOLDE during the physics campaign is then summarized. Stable beam was delivered to the MINIBALL setup for testing purposes from September 2nd and final measurements with stable beam will be taken in week 46 when the PSB stops delivering protons. Radioactive ion beams will be available between 9th of September and 14th of November. Details are given of the linac setup and the main issues experienced along with their consequences for each of the five IS experiments run so far.

It is of interest to note that the second beamline, XT02, has now also been commissioned.

The committee congratulates the HIE-ISOLDE team especially for how physics and commissioning have been carried out in parallel and the high level of dedication shown to the project.

5. Installation & Commissioning plan for 2017

F. Formenti

A brief overview is given of the main HIE-ISOLDE activities planned for during the coming end of year shutdown. This is made up of work on cryomodules, transfer lines and services, in particular cryogenic maintenance. The preparation and planning for these activities is discussed given that the baseline solution recommended by the steering committee on the 13th October 2016 is for CM1 and CM2 to remain in place while the third cryomodule is installed. The schedule would see beam delivered by HIE-ISOLDE with three cryomodules at the end of June 2017.

F. Formenti requests that a decision is made by the collaboration on the installation of ISOL(DE) Solenoidal Spectrometer (ISS) in early January 2017.

6. New ISOLDE Physics Group Leader

After presentations given by the four invited candidates, Gerda Neyens was selected by the committee to be the next ISOLDE Physics group Leader.


7. Technical news, Planning for the winter shutdown

Richard Catherall

R. Catherall informs the committee of an incident that occurred during the production of uranium carbide nanostructured targets. The lack of adequate handling facilities for this volatile material caused problems during its manipulation. The outcome of the incident is that all activities with nanoparticle materials have been stopped until it is sure that what happened is completely understood and that it can be ensured that future activities of this type will not entail similar risks. The EN department, with the help of HSE (Occupational Health & Safety and Environmental Protection unit), is working to solve this issue.

RILIS operation so far in 2016 is then summarised. There have been 120 days of mostly 24 hour operation for 22 separate RILIS runs involving 15 different elements. There have also been 3 RILIS physics runs which included using RILIS as a spectroscopy tool during ion beam production. This year RILIS has a 100% record of being setup on time but it will be difficult to keep up this performance in 2017 as there will be a shortage of manpower at RILIS.

The committee is told that the new fast tape station is now in place at LA2 and that both the mechanics and detectors work. However, due to a combination of delays and beam availability there has been insufficient time for testing. It is requested that test runs be scheduled during 2017.

R. Catherall informs the committee of work ongoing and planned for the shutdown at MEDICIS. The main issues that will define the start-up date of MEDICIS-Phase 1 in 2017 are the controls and the collection chamber.

More than five targets have developed vacuum leaks this year; it is explained that target production has been eliminated as a possible cause and that there is a correlation between vacuum leaks and intense use of proton beam on the converter. The next step to solve the issue is to change the o-ring material.

The key dates of EYETS (End of Year Extended Technical Shutdown) are presented as follows:

Users were extremely happy with the commitment of the operators; it was clearly visible that every effort was being made to ensure that physics was possible.

  • 14th November 2016: Protons stop
  • 28th November 2016: Water stop
  • 20th December 2016: Cooling towers/ cryogenics stop
  • 9th January 2017 to 30th March: Class A ventilation stop
  • 23rd January 2017: Cooling water back
  • 23rd Januray to 20th February 2017: First Cold Check out period
  • 27th February to 18th April 2017: Second Cold Check out period
  • 18th April 2017: Protons back
  • 24th April 2017: Physics starts

A brief overview of work planned during EYETS is presented. The principal tasks will be Front end maintenance, modification of the Class A ventilation, robot checks and programming with Montrac (the rail conveyor system for MEDICIS and ISOLDE) and the camera installation in building 838. The telescopic camera will provide an overall view of the target area in the absence of protons and allow the visualization of target changes over the internet.

R. Catherall informs the committee that this year the setup time for each HIE-ISOLDE experiment, taking the beam from REX-EBIS up to the experiment, has been four days which is much longer than for ISOLDE and has proved a strain on the present manpower. There may not be sufficient people, resources and time to ensure the usual 350 shifts in 2017.

8. ISOLTRAP: Impact of the realignment of the beam lines, final decision

Richard Catherall

ISOLTRAP constraints and the modifications that would be required if the ISOLDE beam lines are realigned are presented. The committee is informed that the ISOLTRAP collaboration agrees to take the required action but requests support, both manpower and financial, for the necessary modifications and beam realignment. R. Catherall agrees that EN-STI-RBS will provide this support.

The committee approves the beam realignment project. The ISOLDE technical group and V. Manea are thanked for their efforts regarding this issue.

9. Removal of a part of LCO: CRIS request

Kara Marie Lynch

K.M. Lynch requests the temporary removal of the unused beam pipe next to CRIS (LC0) to be able to install a laser-launch table and send light into the CRIS beam-line in the opposite direction. This would make it easier to produce better laser/atom overlap in the interaction region, make a 4-step RIS scheme possible and allow anti-collinear laser spectroscopy to be undertaken as well as making a safer working environment behind the beam line. The plan to install a new 20 bend chamber to improve beam transmission and benefit isomer selection of CRIS is briefly presented; this will take up more room and further restrict the space behind the beamline.

The committee agrees to the temporary removal of the unused beam pipe LC0.

10. Commissioning of the laser polarization line at VITO, first test and future plans

Magdalena Kowalska

M. Kowalska summarises the large interest in spin-polarized radioactive ion beams which led to the VITO (Versatile Ion-polarization Techniques Online) initiative for laser spin polarization and beta-decay asymmetry studies started in 2014. The committee is shown the initial plans for the beamline from 2014 which included the installation of a β-NMR setup for studies on liquid samples and the ASPIC setup for collection and measurement of samples with nuclear Perturbed Angular Correlation (PAC). The status of the beamline in January 2016 is then shown and then stage 1 of the project, which is to perform β-NMR on atoms and ions in the straight section, is explained. This first stage has been designed and installed during the first 9 months of 2016; the committee is shown the present status of the beamline with ASPIC removed and shipped to Leuven for thorough refurbishing and upgrades.

The commissioning of the beamline took place during one night in September and another in October and the good results achieved are summarized for the committee. M. Kowalska discusses the next steps for the project. The committee is informed that there are already approved INTC experiments waiting for beam and discussions are ongoing about future possibilities such as studies of gamma and neutron-delayed emission on the decay of polarized nuclei, β-NMR for new magnetic and quadrupole moments and β-NMR for material studies.

The committee congratulates M. Kowalska and her colleagues for the fast setup of the VITO beamline.

11. INTC matters, Highlights of the running period, experimental hall, safety

Karl Johnston

The committee is informed that, out of the 264 shifts requested at the INTC meeting in June, 158 were recommended for approval. This included 11 shifts for the Coulomb excitation experiment (P-470) that will use the new ISS magnet and 3 shifts for the irradiation of prototype tungsten blocks for the test of the Halogen release fraction from the future ESS Helium cooled Tungsten target (P-474).

The INTC meeting that will take place on the 3rd of November will consider 17 proposals/documents and a total of 250 requested shifts. The meeting will be the final session chaired by K. Blaum. K. Riisager will take over as the new INTC chairman on the 1st of January 2017.

The committee is informed that there have been no changes to the safety procedures for users of the ISOLDE facility since the last ISCC meeting in June.

K. Johnston presents the 2016 schedule for low energy physics at ISOLDE and discusses problems that occurred during the running period, in particular leaking targets. It is concluded that it has been a good year for low energy physics at ISOLDE with a number of successful runs including the separation of 127Cd isomers by PI-ICR (IS574) at ISOLTRAP and the study of HFS (Hyperfine Structure) of the 12 isotopes 214,222-232Ra at CRIS. It was also a busy year at IDS with experiments using neutron, particle and beta-gamma spectroscopy as well as fast-timing studies. Solid state physics highlights included the successful emission channelling measurements on topological insulators.

K. Johnston then turns to the HIE-ISOLDE physics runs performed in 2016. The original GPS and HRS schedules are presented followed by the actual physics schedule from September to November. After the initial 110Sn beams were achieved at 4.5MeV/u on the 9th of September, six out of the 7 planned experiments were provided with beam. The issues faced by these experiments is then discussed in detail. K. Johnston then summarises the general feedback concerning the HIE-ISOLDE physics runs:

  • Users were extremely happy with the commitment of the operators; it was clearly visible that every effort was being made to ensure that physics was possible.

  • Downtime at the weekends was a problem especially for relatively minor problems.

  • RILIS was quite stable with the exception of the Zn run.

  • Controls for resetting cavities was greatly appreciated as is 24/7 operation.

  • Some training of users would be useful especially regarding who to call and when if a problem occurs.

  • Length of runs do not yet coincide with the stamina of targets.

  • Beam instrumentation used for beam tuning at MINIBALL requires re-evaluation.

  • There is an extremely heavy load on the operators especially when local experts are unavailable.

  • The setup time between runs is long but trying to squeeze in low energy experiments in these gaps proved difficult so is not advised.

The committee is told that the challenge up until the next long shutdown is not just HIE-ISOLDE but also the high number of approved shifts still to be scheduled at ISOLDE. Experiments with a low number of remaining shifts may be asked to close and there could also be a re-evaluation of some pending shifts of REX experiments.

K. Johnston presents the preliminary shift counting for 2016 showing how the shifts are distributed between the different set ups. The committee is informed that in 2017 physics will start later than in previous years but will also end later giving roughly the same amount of time for experiments. The scheduling protocol for 2017 has not yet been fixed but a continuous block of HIE-ISOLDE experiments is not feasible from both an operations and users viewpoint.

12. News from the ISOLDE Group

Maria Jose Garcia Borge

M.J.G. Borge summarises the present manpower situation in the ISOLDE Physics Group.

  • Associate: Bertram Blank (September 2016 to August 2017). Deadline for new applications 9th March 2017.
  • Corresponding Associate: Georgi Rainovski (August 2016 to November 2016), Joao Pedro Esteves De Araujo (January to February 2017). Deadline for new applications 9th March 2017.

  • Fellows: Stephan Ettenbauer (June 2014 to January 2017), Liam Gaffney (October 2016 to September 2019), Kara Lynch (January 2015 to December 2017), Vladimir Manea (January 2016 to December 2017), Akira Miyazaki (June 2014 to May 2017), Lina Pallada (April 2017 to March 2019), Andree Welker (June 2017 to May 2019), Frank Wienholtz (January 2016 to December 2018). Deadline for new applications 28th February 2017.
  • Doctoral Students: Razvan Lica, Fixed decay station doctoral student (September 2014 to August 2017); Stavroula Pallada (Doctoral Program with Greece for life sciences) (March 2014 to February 2017), Andre Welker (Doctoral Program with Germany) (February 2015 to January 2018), Robert Harding (Doctoral student York-CERN (ERC)), Jacob Snall (Doctoral student Lund-CERN) (August 2016 to July 2019).

The committee is informed that two separator courses will take place at ISOLDE; one from 14th to 16th November and the other from 21st to 23rd November 2016.  The ISOLDE Workshop will take place 7th to 9th December 2016 http://indico.cern.ch/event/561089/ and the satellite ENSAR2: NUSPRASEN workshop, which is aimed at finding out how different facilities work, will be held at CERN from 13:30 on the 6th December http://indico.cern.ch/event/577013/ . It is announced that in 2017 a NuPECC meeting will be organised at CERN the 10th to 11th March.

The status of ENSAR2 TNA at ISOLDE is then summarised. The selection committee met three times during 2016 (21st March, 6th June and 25th July) and allocated 749 days of subsistence to experiments running this year. So far 588 days have been paid to ISOLDE users which corresponds to CHF 71088. The daily subsistence allowance was CHF138 during the first scheduling period (until end of June 2016), after which it was reduced to CHF120 to compensate for CERN not making the overheads available for TNA payments. The project spokesperson is required to submit the experiment report before payments are made.

The committee is informed that the first draft of the new NuPECC Long Range Plan for Nuclear Science in Europe, which was presented at meetings in Uppsala and Vienna, is considered to be very advanced and its distribution is planned before the end of the year. The town meeting hosted by GSI-FAIR from 11th to13th January 2017 will allow a final public discussion of the document. The committee agrees with the proposal for ISOLDE to request membership of NuPECC.

M.J.G. Borge summarises the status of the ISOLDE Laboratory Portrait. The deadline for submission was 1st November. Some contributions have been handed in already but many have asked for extra time so the final deadline has been set at 30th November. There has been a very enthusiastic response to the portrait and no showstopper is foreseen. The new contact person for the portrait at IOP is Claire Fullarton (Claire.Fullarton@iop.org).

The committee is told that the HIE-ISOLDE Phase I Celebration which took place at CERN on Wednesday 28th September was a great success. The event organised to celebrate this significant milestone was attended by nearly 100 guests including CERN management and the Belgian State Secretary for Scientific Policy, E. Sleurs, as well as CERN delegates, funding agency representatives and senior scientists from the now 18 member states of the ISOLDE collaboration.

M.J.G. Borge tells the committee that the new ISOLDE MoU for the period 2017-2019 was sent out to member countries for signature in September. The document includes the new automatic renewal clause so the period of validity was reduced from 5 to 3 years to facilitate the assurance of funding by member countries. Neither India nor Ireland appear in the new MoU and the membership of Bulgaria as well as Portugal is still pending. Many countries have already signed the new document.

The healthy status of the collaboration budget is briefly summarised with a loan payment of 140 kCHF already made for 2016 as well as a payment of 824 kCHF to finish paying the expenditure of the HIE-ISOLDE project up until December 2015. Greece has paid its collaboration fee for 2012 and has secured funding until 2014. The following member states have already paid the collaboration fee for 2016: CERN, Germany, Slovakia, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, United Kingdom, Poland, Romania and South Africa (Spain has paid during November).

The committee agrees to support A. Miyazaki for 18 months at the rate of 2900 CHF per month; an internal memorandum has been signed by the head of the RF group, E. Jensen, promising to provide the maximum CERN allowance for the same 18 month period.

M.J.G. Borge tells the committee that building 508, which belongs to the EP department, is now fully functional and heavily used. The heat on the top floor is higher than expected, especially in the control room. While a temporary solution has been found, in the long term it is planned to use the chilled water to feed the AC machines. The cost will be shared between the EP, BE and EN departments proportional to the floor surface used. Funds at the level of 60 KCHF have been secured from EP but the total cost is not yet known; extra support from the collaboration will probably be required. The work is planned for the period from February to April 2017.

Finally an overview of the visitors to ISOLDE during 2016 is presented.


Maria Jose Garcia Borge

M.J.G. Borge begins by summarising the goals of the EURISOL – Distributed Facility (DF) Initiative:

  • Develop EURISOL science case and experiments

  • Research and development for EURISOL

  • Form a new facility going well beyond a network

  • Get EURISOL-DF on the ESFRI list as a candidate project by 2018

  • EURISOL single site facility as a long term goal

  • Close collaboration with FAIR/NUSTAR

The first goal, development of EURISOL science and experiments, would include the organisation of experimental programs using all available observables, techniques and facilities to tackle major problems in nuclear physics and astrophysics. This could involve up to 50% of radioactive ion beam time at ISOLDE, GANIL-SPIRAL2 and SPES being dedicated to EURISOL-DF experiments and distributed via a new EURISOL-DF PAC. This issue is briefly discussed by the committee and will be discussed further at the next meeting.

It is explained that the advantage of being recognised as a distributed facility by the ESFRI would be the direct access to ministerial and EU funding. The legal structure of EURISOL-DF would ensure that the facilities have real and effective ties in dealing with science, strategy and resource management. However, there is a risk that the proposal will appear as networking.

The preliminary EURISOL-DF organisation is presented and the committee is told that the EPS conference held in Leuven from 18th to 21st October was dedicated to EURISOL-DF. The next steps of the initiative are as follows:

  • Update by the EURISOL Steering Committee of the EURISOL-DF description in the NuPECC Long Rang Plan by the end of October

  • Final Reports of the 5 Working Groups by December 15th 2016

  • Draft of the full EURISOL-DF proposal including the feed-back from the Leuven conference by the end of February 2017

  • Consultation of the draft with the involved countries (at least 3 signatures necessary) and community with a help of EURISOL UEC March-May 2017

  • Submission of the EURISOL-DF project to ESFRI by July 2017

  • EC funded Preparatory Phase from 2019-2020 (if on the ESFRI roadmap)

14. Dates of the next meeting

The dates of the next ISCC meetings are Tuesday 7th February and Tuesday 27th June 2017.

Meeting ends at 17:30

N.B. The overheads of the above presentations can be found via http://indico.cern.ch/event/539089/  

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