85th ISCC Meeting

1st July 2019

Present: G. Benzoni (replacing A. Nannini), K. Bharuth-Ram (replacing D. Naidoo), B. Blank, R. Catherall, J. Cederkall, D. Doherty, H. Fynbo, S. Gilardoni (P.T.), K. Johnston, N. Marginean, G. Neyens, J. Pakarinen, N. Patronis (replacing A. Lagoyannis),  M. Pfützner, K. Riisager, L. Schweikhard, N. Severijns (via Vidyo), E. Siesling, O. Tengblad,  M. Venhart (via Vidyo)

Excused: S. Siem

Invited: E. Nacher Gonzalez, W. Venturini Delsolaro, J. Vollaire

(P.T. = Part Time attendance)

The meeting starts at 09:00 h

1. Introductory remarks

The ISCC chairperson, B. Blank, opens the meeting and informs the committee that G. Benzoni replaces A. Nannini as the Italy representative at this meeting, the South Africa representative D. Naidoo is replaced by K. Bharuth-Ram and N. Patronis replaces the Greece representative A. Lagoyannis.

2. Approval of the Minutes of the last meeting of March 19th, 2019

The minutes from the previous meeting are approved.

3. Status of HIE-ISOLDE shutdown work – E. Siesling

An overview of LS2 work at REX and HIE-ISOLDE is presented and the committee is informed that all tasks are on track. The design and construction of the new REX EBIS “Immersed” electron gun is underway. If outside companies can be found for piece production (the CERN workshop is occupied with high priority LS2 jobs) then the new electron gun could be ready for installation at the end of this year and testing early next year. The existing configuration could be used as an alternative back-up solution during 2020 if the new design does not work as planned.

E. Siesling presents the excellent work carried out by the REX LINAC RF team and reports that RF tests are running ahead of schedule thanks to both the RF and CV teams.

The committee is then informed that the project to install 3 new diagnostic boxes and an additional steerer between the REX separator and the HIE-ISOLDE LINAC is ahead of schedule. The new diagnostic boxes integration and drawings are ready and fabrication is underway. Installation is now foreseen for the end of this year.

E. Siesling tells the committee that the HIE-ISOLDE cryomodule CM4 is in SM18 and the coupler issue repair has been completed for all its cavities. The test phase has now begun in the SM18 bunker with the cryomodule expected back at ISOLDE in January allowing installation to be completed and recommissioning to begin by April 2020. The maintenance of the cryogenics systems will continue during 2019 ensuring that the cryo-plant will be operational and ready before the cool down and recommissioning of the HIE-ISOLDE LINAC in April 2020. Cooling and ventilation (CV) modifications for HIE-ISOLDE have been completed and the CV/air conditioning system in building 508 has also been finished bringing the user laboratories up to specification.

The committee is reminded that the aim of the early start up in 2020 is to allow for a REX/HIE-ISOLDE test and development run next year in order to prepare for smooth and effective operation in 2021. It will also allow stable beam to be delivered to some users in order to test their new experimental setups. Although the proposal for the early startup was made in 2018 it is still in the process of being validated; all requested information regarding the proposal, including the relatively minor financial implications, has been delivered to the LS2 committee.

  1.  Status of the CM4 repair work – W. Venturini Delsolaro

Regarding the performance of the HIE-ISOLDE cavities in 2018, the committee is reminded that evidence of a non-conformity on cavity 3 of CM4 was discovered during hardware commissioning, which was due to a faulty contact at the input coupler, so it was decided not to put power in this cavity to avoid the risk of contaminating the whole cryomodule. It was also seen that the performance of a few cavities in CM1 and CM2 was limited by field emission so it was decided to downgrade their settings rather than re-condition them in situ. The LS2 committee approved the exchange of CM4 in 2019 but no resources were available to make the necessary interventions to improve the performance of the other cryomodules. The performance of the cryomodules during the 2018 run is presented as well as the results of the stress test performed after the physics run where the cavities were locked to higher fields for a few hours. The committee is told that, as CM2 performed well in the stress test, there are no plans to take CM2 out for repair in the near future.

W. Venturini Delsolaro gives a brief overview of the work carried out so far on CM4 since it was moved to SM18 in March. After final rinsing of the spare cavities, particles were found in the filter of the exhaust water and, after investigation, it was concluded that these particles could be fragments of the Nb film detached from the cavity surface. A plan has been put into action to minimise the risks of these particles causing problems. This includes slow venting and the avoidance of re-rinsing of the cavities already installed to avoid provoking the movement of any particles.

It is reported that it has been found that the problems encountered with cavity 3 have been found to stem from the soldering of the inner conductor of the coax cable to the coupler antenna, which was damaged after the first cool down. Inspection of the weak spot of all the other CM4 cavities revealed similar issues albeit less severe so the soldering has been re-made with an improved technique.

Results are presented of the warm RF measurements and the final alignment survey carried out on CM4 before it was transferred to the test bunker on 26th June. It is hoped to start the cool down in the middle of July with the cold test scheduled for August to September. The predicted energy reach of the HIE-ISOLDE LINAC after LS2 is shown and J. Cederkall requests that these figures are made available in a table format.

W. Venturini Delsolaro reports to the committee that the CM4 repair work is on schedule and that all technical choices have been dictated by a minimum risk approach in terms of energy reach at HIE-ISOLDE after LS2. The main limitation on stabilising ultimate fields (6 MV/m in all cavities) will come from pressure fluctuations in the cryo-plant.

The committee is informed that a proposal to use the set of spare cavities to build a spare cryomodule is being considered by CERN consolidation management.

5. Status of the new front ends installation work and nanolab– R. Catherall

It is reported that the feedback from testing the new extraction electrode design on the MEDICIS frontend (FE) is a concern for the new ISOLDE FEs. The test showed bending of the rail, gripping of the bearings and separation of the rack from the pinion. Hence, even though the operational parameters at ISOLDE and MEDICIS are not identical, it has been decided to go back to the original extraction electrode design for use in the new ISOLDE FEs. However this has cost a lot of time and there is an overlap of resources for the repair of MEDICIS and ISOLDE FE production, so there is currently a 10 month delay in the production of the FEs. Every effort will be made to reduce this delay and it is hoped to have the first new FE in place in early 2020 ready for planned testing but the second new FE will not be ready until later.

R. Catherall then briefly summarises the maintenance and upgrades at offline 1, the pump stand upgrades and the status of offline 2 as well as the work carried out for the installation of the HT modulators. The timeline of the new tape station project since S. Warren took over in July 2018 is shown and the committee told that the final steps such as controls crate installation and control software are underway as the system must be fully operational for the 2020 start up.

A brief status report for MEDICIS is presented. The class A radiochemistry laboratory audit was passed, the first laser-ionised beam was produced from MELISSA in April and the MEDICIS facility 2019 beam permit has been signed.

The final design of the nanolab general layout in building 179 is presented and the committee told that the project will take place in two phases. The 1st phase, from January to October 2020, will involve exclusively civil engineering work under the responsibility of CERN-SMB. There should be no real impact on users during this period and access will be granted for the installation of the ISOLDE FEs. The completion of SMB building work and the connection of services will take place during the 2nd phase from November 2020 to the end of May 2021. The ventilation of building 179 will be stopped for 6 months as from December 2020, which means that MEDICIS will not be able to run during this period and actinide target production will be impacted. Hence, targets will be prepared and completed before the ventilation stop in preparation for ISOLDE 2021 operation. R. Catherall, therefore, requests that target requirements for at least the start up period in 2021 be made available by July/August 2020. Commissioning of the new nanolab and validation of the nano-material manufacturing procedure will take place during 2021. During this period, except for the ventilation stop, a small central room in building 179 will be available for the production of micro uranium carbide targets and it is hoped to get a derogation to be able to prepare non-actinide nano-materials.

R. Catherall announces that, when he retires at the end of 2020, the position of ISOLDE Technical Coordinator will be taken over by J. Vollaire who will join the EN-STI group at the beginning of September 2019. J. Vollaire introduces himself to the committee and B. Blank welcomes him to the ISOLDE team.

6. News from the ISOLDE group – G. Neyens

The present manpower situation in the ISOLDE Physics Group is summarized by G. Neyens.

•           Associate: Deyan Yordanov (February to December 2019)

•           Staff Members: Stephan Malbrunot-Ettenbauer (ERC MIRACLS) (February 2017 to January 2021), Karl Johnston (Physics Coordinator) (October 2015 to September 2022), Gerda Neyens (Physics Group Leader) (June 2017 to June 2021).

•           User: Jenny Weterings (User Support) (2002- )

•           Research Fellows: Hanne Heylen – COLLAPS/MIRACLS (October 2017 to September 2020), Ronald Garcia Ruiz – CRIS (January 2018 to December 2019), Maxim Mougeot – ISOLTRAP (Sept 19 – August 2021)

Deadline for new applications: for the autumn selection meeting applications have to be submitted 2nd September (info can be found via: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/unijobs/listing/153723/senior-fellowship-programme/?LinkSource=PremiumListing.

•           Applied Fellows: Joonas Konki – HIE-ISOLDE Experiments (March 2018 to February 2020), Simon Sels – MIRACLS (April 2018 to March 2020), Dinko Atanasov – WISArD & Low Energy Experiments (April 2019 – March 2021), Markus Vilen – MR-ToF for ISOLDE and MIRACLS (October 2019 to September 2021). Deadline for new applications is the same as for Research Fellows, 2nd September 2019.

•           Doctoral Students: Jonas Karthein (CERN via Gentner Doctoral Program) (November 2017 to October 2020), Varvara Lagaki (CERN-MIRACLS) (September 2017 to August 2020), Simon Lechner (CERN-MIRACLS) (September 2017 to August 2020), Jared Croese (CERN- EP-SME) (February 2018 to January 2021), Peter Plattner (CERN via Austrian Doctoral Program) (August 2018 to July 2021), Katarzyna Maria Dziubinska-Kuhn (CERN-ERC Betadrop) (October 2018 to September 2021), Karolina Kulesz (CERN-ERC Betadrop) (October 2018 to September 2021), Lukas Nies (CERN via Gentner Doctoral Program) (November 2019 to October 2022).

G. Neyens summarises the recent ISOLDE outreach activities with articles in the CERN Accelerating News, the EP Newsletter and the CERN Courier. The committee is told that ISOLDE will play an active role, coordinated by K. Johnston, during this year’s CERN Open Days that will take place on 14th -15th September. G. Neyens encourages anyone who would like to contribute to ISOLDE outreach to contact either her or K. Johnston.

The committee is informed that the ISOLDE Workshop and Users meeting will be shorter than usual this year, 5-6 December, because it will be preceded by the first ISOLDE-EPIC Workshop on 3-4 December. The aim of the EPIC event is to discuss possible upgrades to the ISOLDE facility and to set up collaborations/working groups to study both technical aspects and financing of proposed projects.

7. Collaboration matters and Update of MoU annexes – G. Neyens

The status of the ISOLDE collaboration income for 2019 is summarised with Germany, CERN, Norway, Denmark, South Africa, Finland and the UK already having paid their fees for this year. M. Pfützner informs the committee that the funds are not available to pay the Polish contribution for 2019 and M. Venhart explains that political issues in Slovakia are making payment of the fees difficult at the present time. Payments totalling 5kEuros have so far been received towards the Portuguese “Institute” membership for 2019 with another 5kEuros still to come.

G. Neyens explains that the ARIS 2020 conference will be organised in Avignon by CNRS/CEA, France and a request has been made to ISOLDE and other laboratories for financial support. The committee agrees to offer 5000 CHF to the conference in return for visibility of ISOLDE at the conference and on the conference material.

The committee is informed that the director of the BOSE institute in India is ready to sign the institute membership agreement on the condition that members of the institute have their own funding to travel to ISOLDE for meetings/conferences. G. Neyens explains that a request has been received from D. Gupta of the BOSE institute for the ISOLDE collaboration to cover his travel costs to attend meetings at ISOLDE once a year during a period of 2 years while he applies for his own funding. The committee agrees to fund the travel of D. Gupta to ISOLDE once a year to a maximum of 2000CHF a year for a maximum period of 2 years but only after the BOSE institute has signed the institute membership agreement and the institute fee has been received by CERN.

Institute membership has also been initiated by M. Veselsky from the Czech Technical University, Prague and the agreement document is now with the CERN legal department for approval before being sent out for signature.

In addition, D. Das from SINP Kolkata, India has expressed an interest in starting collaboration with ISOLDE.

G. Neyens then informs the committee of the new experimental setups that have requested space at ISOLDE in the near future:

  • MIRACLS (S. Ettenauer – ERC grant) – 2020
  • PUMA (A. Obertelli – ERC grant, TU Darmstadt) – 2022. This project has not yet been presented at the ISCC but discussions are ongoing about how to get the set-up into the ISOLDE hall.
  • MultiPAC magnet (D. Lupascu – BMBF funded, Uni. Duisburg Essen) –approx. 2021. This offline setup requires online space due to the resources available in the ISOLDE hall and is similar in size to ISS.
  • ASPIC upgrade (H. Hofsass – BMBF funded, Uni. Gottingen) – earliest 2021. Funding is available for a full refurbishment of this setup.
  • MR-ToF for beam characterisation (ISOLDE-CERN EN-EP project) – approx. 2020-2021
  • GANDALF (D. Hanstorp - existing movable setup – platform above CRIS is being considered)

The committee clarifies that the final MR-ToF device should be for both online beam characterisation and use by the user community. L. Schweikhard informs the committee that the MIRACLS proof of principle MR-ToF setup will, at some point, be moved to offline 2 to allow the target group to acquire experience with the device.

G. Neyens reports that the Group for the Upgrade of ISOLDE (GUI), that advises CERN management on the priorities for upgrades of ISOLDE, met on the 3rd of June https://indico.cern.ch/event/816765 .  Discussions at this meeting included the upgrade of REX-ISOLDE, development of the proton-to-neutron converter and upgrades of the RILIS laboratory. The status of funding of the EPIC project was also discussed and K. Flanagan told the GUI that a request for start-up funds has been submitted in the UK, which would cover the costs associated with 1 FTE at CERN for 12 months and the organisation of 3 workshops at CERN. The GUI also compared TISD developments with INTC requests and decided that the priorities for development are Ce (CeF), Po (LIST), Ac, Th (molecular) and Sn (molecular). The GUI meeting also included a presentation by T. Stora on the outcome of the LIEBE target review that had concluded that there was not yet enough documentation about what went wrong in the off-line testing, and what can be learnt from this. Due to a lack of resources over the next two years, the review had also concluded that it was important to verify if the ISOLDE user community was still interested in this type of target with such a timescale. The preparation of a funding and research timeline would have to be carried out based on recommendations of the GUI and endorsed by the ISOLDE Collaboration.

S. Gilardoni states that CERN would like to get as much as possible out of the work already carried out on the LIEBE project but that  resources at CERN are being cut and therefore any continuation of the project would have to be scientifically justified and within an acceptable timescale. The ISOLDE Collaboration committee clarifies that, while LIEBE was an interesting development for future facilities, there was never a major interest from the physics community.

G. Neyens reminds the committee that the ISOLDE Collaboration MoU has an automatic renewal every 3 years with a new period running from 2020 to 2022. Hence, it is important to update the annexes of the MoU during 2019. The proposed changes to the annexes are presented; the committee agrees that all the annexes should reflect the situation in January 2020. G. Neyens explains that J.A. Rodriguez Rodriguez had requested that annex 13 mentions the maximum beam energy that can be achieved after phase 2 is 9.2A MeV for the maximum available A/Q=4.5 (assuming all CM cavitites are operated up to their specifications). Any such changes are discussed with and approved by R. Steerenberg (OP Group Leader), P. Collier (BE Department Head), S. Gilardoni (STI Group Leader) and R. Losito (EN Department Head). Annex 7.2 shows the collaboration membership fees over the period 2020 to 2022; the committee agrees to the requests from Greece and South Africa to keep their membership fees at 30kCHF per year up to and including 2022. B. Blank reminds the committee that it is the responsibility of the member countries to provide up to date information for all the annexes of the MoU. Any further updates should be sent to G. Neyens by 1st October so that the changes can be given final approval at the ISCC meeting in November.


The committee is informed that news from the EU about the ranking of the ERINS project is expected in August 2019. However, the EURISOL-DF initiative will not be pursued any further due to the lack of support from IN2P3 and the reservations of a few other partners, including CERN, regarding a ‘common PAC’. Other options are now being considered about how to organise the European Nuclear Physics community in order to promote more exchange, collaboration and complementarity.

G. Neyens tells the committee that the ISOLDE contribution to the ESPP was one of 160 documents submitted in December 2018 https://indico.cern.ch/event/765096/contributions/ and discussed at the ESPP workshop in Granada from 13-17 May 2019. The ISOLDE EPIC project was mentioned in 3 parallel and 2 plenary sessions so, G. Neyens, who was present at the workshop, was pleased with the visibility of ISOLDE at the event. The plan for the next stage of the EPIC project, after the dedicated workshop at CERN in December, is to complete a technical design study of new target stations, which will hopefully be supported through a fellowship funded by the UK EPIC proposal.  The plan is to present this study to CERN management in 2021. The committee states that it is important to have concrete plans in place and ready to show to CERN management when the collaboration has completed repayments for the HIE-ISOLDE upgrade.

9. Update on GLM/GHM – K. Johnston

The committee hears that the consolidation of the GLM/GHM area is necessary due to the fact that some of the activities taking place there should be carried out in a Class C Work Sector and, even though the ISOLDE Hall is classified as such, it is not fully compliant with Swiss regulations. Hence, there is a risk of contamination and radiation in the surrounding area that could affect both visitors and other experiments present in the hall.

K. Johnston informs the committee that a proposal was presented at a review of the consolidation project that took place at CERN on 12th June. The recommendations from the review, attended by J. Daumet, head of RP at IRA/CHUV, are summarised. Since February 2019, the Swiss ORAP allows areas to be classified as “zones” rather than the more strict classification of “work sector”. This allows for more flexibility and for specific RP aspects to be addressed. As it would be difficult to convert the ISOLDE hall to fully comply with Class C regulations due to the current infrastructure and funding, the use of “zones” would be more suited to the situation at ISOLDE. This would allow the focus to be on the specifics of activities at other beamlines and only the recently installed fume cupboard would have to be considered as a type C work sector. As well as the installation of cleanable walls, the reduction of clutter and the removal of workspaces out of the GLM/GHM zone, the review recommended that the stairs at GLM be removed and replaced with a landing between LA1and LA2. The alternative option of the RILIS level being connected to the stairs is also being explored. The strengthening of awareness and training for users regarding emergency procedures and activities in the area was also recommended.

CERN RP is now assessing the recommendations that will require a change of culture at CERN and then, based on these assessments, EP safety and ISOLDE will launch a re-design of the area.

10. Election of a new ISCC Chair – B. Blank

The two applications received for the position of ISCC Chairperson are presented and, after a discussion during which it is stated that both candidates were of a very high standard, the committee votes 8/7 in favour of K. Flanagan.

B. Blank suggests that the change of ISCC chairperson could be a good opportunity to discuss the functioning of the committee. It is decided to discuss the matter at the next ISCC meeting; the discussion will include issues such as the number of meetings per year as the MoU states that only 2 are mandatory and the amount of technical information presented at the meetings.

11. Status of the TAS-Lucrecia collaboration and set-up– E. Nacher Gonzalez

The presentation begins with a brief summary of ß-decay measurements and the physics case for the TAS (Total Absorption Spectroscopy) setup at ISOLDE. E. Nacher Gonzalez then summarises the results and publications resulting from TAS experiments as well as the ongoing analysis of 64Ge (IS570).

Regarding the technical status of the setup, the committee is informed that the detection system, electronics and data acquisition are working perfectly and the new tape transport system, where the tape and samples are kept in vacuum, will be installed before the end of LS2. The new tape transport system should solve the problems experienced with the present system and should not occupy any more space.

E. Nacher Gonzalez tells the committee that the current ISOLDE-TAS collaboration is made up of 6 institutes with another 3 interested in using the setup. Experiments at TAS have so far resulted in 5 PhD theses with another 6 PhD students foreseen in the near future depending on approval of proposals and funding requests. At the next Spanish national funding call (FPN) IFIC Valencia will request support for a technician to spend 6 to 12 months installing the new tape transport system during 2020.

The committee is informed that it is planned to organise a TAS workshop in Valencia this autumn in order to discuss future physics cases. At present TAS has no approved shifts but there are already 4 proposals ready to be presented to the INTC and ideas for another 3.

The ISOLDE-TAS collaboration requests that the ISCC allow the space in the ISOLDE hall to be retained for the TAS setup for campaigns after LS2.

In response to a question from K. Johnston about whether or not TAS could be a travelling setup rather than a permanent one, E. Nacher Gonzalez tells the committee that it would be possible but difficult due to the nature of the shielding required. The ISOLDE-TAS collaboration is considering installing a permanent DAQ system so that it would be feasible to have 1 or 2 runs a year.

12. Discussion on space in the hall – B. Blank

B. Blank states that, due to the high demand for space in the ISOLDE hall, at some point the committee will have to make a decision about the TAS and NICOLE setups. Since decisions of the committee are physics based, a strong element in the decision process will be which, if any, proposals are accepted by the INTC.

K. Riisager, the chairperson of the INTC, explains that no new proposals will be accepted by the INTC before February 2020 and that the committee was concerned that TAS had taken very few shifts and not published many publications during the last 10 years. O. Tengblad informs the committee that TAS has a lot of support in Spain and is a large part of the Spanish participation at ISOLDE. He also explains that TAS activity at ISOLDE should improve now that E. Nacher is based at IFIC Valencia.

A discussion then takes place about the NICOLE experiment taking into account the status report sent to the committee by J. Nikolov.  The NICOLE collaboration has been trying for several years to get the setup back online but have encountered various problems. The committee considers that the planned attempt to cool down the NICOLE fridge again this summer will be critical and that much more information is required from the NICOLE collaboration in order for a decision to be made about the future of the setup. In particular, the committee would need to know who, from the rather small NICOLE collaboration, would be able to spend a reasonable amount of time on the project at CERN and whether or not sufficient funds are available within the NICOLE collaboration to cover the running costs of the setup. Relying on a CERN fellowship to solve manpower issues is too risky a strategy. The plans given in the status report about the future of the experiment are very vague and would need to be clarified. G. Neyens/B. Blank will communicate the need for more information to J. Nikolov and B. Blank asks N. Severijns to provide a few words about the history of NICOLE for the next ISCC meeting. K. Riisager informs the committee that the INTC will send its recommendations to the CERN Research Board in December 2019 regarding the shifts that NICOLE still has remaining. The hall space currently occupied by NICOLE could be suitable for a number of setups requesting space in the hall including MIRACLS, which could then provide beam to PUMA. The committee decides that a decision about the future of the NICOLE setup will be taken by the end of 2019.

13. A.O.B

  • S. Gilardoni strongly endorses J. Vollaire as the future replacement of R. Catherall as the ISOLDE Technical Coordinator.

14. Dates of the next meeting

The date of the remaining ISCC meeting in 2019 is Tuesday 5th November.

Meeting ends at 15:15

N.B. The overheads of the above presentations can be found via https://indico.cern.ch/event/820657/