95th ISCC Meeting

7th November 2022


Minutes of the 95th Meeting of the ISOLDE Collaboration Committee held on November 7th  2022


Present: J. Cederkall, S. Freeman, H. Fynbo, L. Gaffney, G. Georgiev, S. Gilardoni, A. Herzan, V. Ingeborg (replacing S. Siem), C. Mihai, E. Nacher, A. Nannini, G. Neyens, J. Pakarinen, M. Pfützner, G. Rainovski, J.A. Rodriguez, L. Schweikhard, N. Severijns, E. Siesling, J. Vollaire

Excused: K. Johnston

Absent: A. Lagoyannis, D. Naidoo

Invited: M. Kowalska, N. Bidault (P.T.), S. Stegemann (P.T.), M. Fraser (P.T.), N. van der  Meulen (P.T)

The meeting, held via Zoom, starts at 09:30 h

1. Introductory remarks

G. Neyens opens the meeting and welcomes the members of the committee.

2. Approval of the Minutes of the last meeting of June 21st, 2022

The minutes from the previous meeting are approved.

3. Report on Fellowship activities – N. Bidault

The scope of this fellowship position was to report on the design of beamlines for the possible new ISOLDE experimental hall. N. Bidault briefly summarises the preliminary concepts of the beamlines that would be required and discusses the design parameters and constraints considered by the beam dynamics study as well as the initial beam parameters used. The mechanical design of electrostatic elements is then presented including CAD models and CST simulations of the quadrupoles and deflectors. Results of beam dynamics studies using COSY Infinity are also shown to the committee as well as a comparison between Einzel Lens and Triplet injection into experimental stations.

N. Bidault then explains that emittance measurements have been made from the target ion sources at ISOLDE using wire grids but the results were found to be higher than historical measurements. Hence, an Allison scanner from TRIUMF has been used to make emittance measurements at Offline 2, the results of which are presented, and it will be installed at ISOLDE this month as part of the PUMA project integration. Emittance measurements with the Allison scanner at ISOLDE are planned before the YETS.

The committee is informed by N. Bidault that, during his fellowship, he has also been involved in other activities such as the Beam Switching project and REX-EBIS operation and measurements. Finally, the work still to be completed during the remainder of the fellowship is briefly summarised.


4. Report on results of 1.7-GeV Tests – S. Stegemann

The IS717 experiment proposes to verify the expected gains in production yields in respective regions of the nuclear chart when using 1.7 GeV protons compared with 1.4 GeV protons, with the aim of verifying the predicted ratio’s from FLUKA simulations. The first measurement campaign in August 2022 used the combination of a UCx target and a Ta-surface (MK1) ion source that gave access to many surface ionised species of interest. Four different laser ionisation schemes were exploited as well as the neutron converter. The second run, in October 2022, used a LaCx target and a Ta-surface(MK1) ion source along with Sn laser ionisation.

S. Stegemann explains that the energy is limited to 1.7 GeV by the  power converter in the BTY vertical dipoles so optics are re-matched to keep all quadrupole settings within the power converter limits for 1.7GeV. The proton beam characteristics are shown.

The preliminary results are then presented. The committee is told that these results confirmed the expected gains using 1.7 GeV protons and agree well with the corresponding Monte Carlo simulations. However, it is concluded that further study of proton beam transport to ISOLDE is required to better understand the effect of higher beam intensity on the production of radioactive ion beams at ISOLDE. Future experimental runs will seek to explore other regions of the nuclear chart and work will also start on simulations for 2 GeV protons. S. Stegemann acknowledges the teams and individuals that have contributed to this study.

5. ABT Fellow Request – M. Fraser

The need to fully integrate the ISOLDE low energy beamlines into the CERN process structure and layout database is explained. The SY-ABT group has gained experience with electrostatic transfer lines at ELENA and has the competence to tackle the ISOLDE beamline issues. Hence, a longer term project will start in 2023 which will be supported by SY-ABT up to LS3. A request is made to the Collaboration to fund a fellow position that would cover the following activities:

  •   Coordinate the effort to document the ISOLDE beamlines:
    • Collect information and understand what is installed on the beam lines ensuring all drawings and documents are collected in electronic format on EDMS
    • Support the Configuration Management team for an implementation in the Layout DB
    • Work with the Survey Team to reverse engineer MADX sequence files followed by survey files for implementation in GEODE DB
  • Support the ISO-OP team to implement CERN standard optics models and tools as successfully achieved at ELENA:
    • LSA, YASP etc.
  • Carry out electrostatic simulations of transfer line elements to build a linear optics model of the transfer line
  • Carry out optics measurements to characterize MADX optics model
  • Start to build an optics model of the ISOLDE separators and agree on an optics and operation strategy in collaboration with ISO-OP
  • As needed, support the installation of new ISOLDE experimental requests



6. Introduction to Swiss interest in membership of ISOLDE – N. van der Meulen

 The committee is told that Swiss institutes have been involved at ISOLDE for many years and various groups have performed a range of physics and medically related projects. These have involved fundamental radiochemical studies, using ions as spin probes in thin-film heterostructures and the use of Xe radioisotopes for medical imaging. Pioneering work has taken place through the collaboration of ISOLDE, PSI and its clinical partners. N. van der Meulen explains that the IMPACT (Isotope and Muon Production using Advanced Cyclotron and target Technologies) Project, currently being proposed to the Swiss government, includes the PSI-TATTOOS infrastructure project that will provide innovative radiopharmaceuticals for theragnostics. Synergies exist between ISOLDE and PSI-TATTOOS that can be used for the effective implementation of the TATTOOS project. The committee is told that both PSI-TATTOOS and ISOLDE are seen as assets and that membership of the ISOLDE Collaboration would further facility developments, strengthen a common national and international user base and foster new research directions in nuclear and particle physics not yet pursed in Switzerland. It would also provide a stable link to ISOLDE for other interested Swiss parties.

N. van der Meulen makes the request, supported by letters from Swiss collaborators, for Switzerland to become a member of the ISOLDE Collaboration. The necessary funds are available to pay the full membership fee.

7. Collaboration Matters – S. Freeman

The ISCC is very happy to approve Swiss membership of the collaboration.

The committee then discuss the request from SY-ABT for the collaboration to fund a fellow position. The ISCC were very pleased to hear about SY-ABT’s involvement in ISOLDE and looked forward to a very positive collaboration. It was noted that SY-ABT had taken general responsibility for the low-energy lines, but that fellowship support was needed for the specific task of modelling the low-energy side of the facility given the challenging nature of the project, largely due to the poor historic documentation. Since the fellow will be embedded in SY-ABT and supervised by an ABT STAFF member, the ISCC was assured that the work done and knowledge gained for the defined period of the fellowship would not be lost and ABT would take care of knowledge transfer.

The ISCC therefore approved two years of funding, in the first instance, for a fellow starting in second half of 2023 . Collaboration-supported fellows are asked to report back in a short talk to the ISCC on their work at reasonable intervals to get an overview of progress. A suitable point would be chosen to review the support for continuation after this period, as needed.

S. Freeman informs the committee that all membership fees for 2022 have been received except those from Greece (received after meeting on 25.11.2022), Sweden (normally received towards the end of each calendar year; received 07.12.2022) and Spain. Greece have been paying a reduced yearly membership fee of 30kCHF since 2010. However, the agreement regarding this reduced rate expires in 2022 and there are significant difficulties with respect to the future of Greece as a part of the collaboration. The Portuguese institute, the University of Aveiro has made a payment of 5kCHF to the ISOLDE Collaboration for 2022 and it is hoped that D. Galaviz can use the momentum of the recent successful IS698 experiment to push for Portuguese membership of the collaboration.

A summary of the financial support given to by the collaboration, in the absence of European funds, to ISOLDE Users in 2022 is presented. The level of support given was the same as in 2021 with the recipients, in general, those without access to travel funds and the majority being early career researchers and students. This support ended on 31st August 2022 with the start of the EURO-LABS project.

The committee is told that the EURO-LABS project began on 1st September 2022 and ISOLDE Users have been supported with Transnational Access (TNA) funds from the very first day of the project. Local procedures regarding applications for and distribution of this funding are very similar to those used for previous EU TNA projects, however, there may be some changes in format to come as the EURO-LABS Consortium is trying to make a common application form. This was one of the topics discussed at the kick-off meeting held in Bologna at the beginning of October 2022 along with the obligations thrown up by the grant agreement regarding open access of both publications and data. As with previous EU funding projects, all publications arising from experiments that have received EUROLABS funding must be made open access and must acknowledge the project using a text such as: “This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe Research and Innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 101057511.” EURO-LABS has the additional obligation that all beneficiaries must have a Data Management Plan (DMP) that includes where and when data will be made open access. If open access is not provided (to some or all data) this must be justified in the DMP. The requirement for a DMP is mentioned in the email sent by ISOLDE to the spokesperson of IS experiments receiving funding. Data must be deposited in a trusted repository and made available at an appropriate time; S. Freeman briefly discusses his experience with the Zenodo (https://zenodo.org) repository that is built and operated by CERN and OpenAIRE to ensure that everyone can join in with Open Science. It ensures that research data can be stored safely in CERN’s Data centre for as long as CERN exists and every upload is assigned a DOI to make then citable and trackable.


S. Freeman proposes that an ISOLDE Policy on Open Science, that would include guidance for users, is created that would be a local implementation of the CERN policy that was signed off on 1st October 2022 (https://openscience.cern ). As well as EURO-LABS obligations, this would ensure that obligations of Horizon Europe awards and many national funders are fulfilled. The DMP for each experiment could be captured as part of the INTC proposal submission procedure; this is likely to be required to evidence compliance for EURO-LABS. S. Freeman will prepare a draft policy for the next ISCC meeting.

The committee is informed of the measures being put in place by CERN to deal with the issues of cost and availability of power. CERN will stop protons two weeks earlier than planned in 2022 and extend YETS next year which will lead to four weeks of running lost in 2023. EDF may ask CERN to reduce its load but this would only be for periods of a few hours. CERN is planning for longer term scenarios as its tariff agreement with EDF will end in 2026. The local team has been asked to consider and be prepared for the consequences of unexpected blackouts.

Updates to the Annexes of the ISOLDE MoU that were recently sent via email to ISCC members are approved. The final version containing all members of the Financial Review Committee (FRC) should be ready for approval at the next ISCC meeting.

With regard to the Physics Coordinator succession planning, S. Freeman explains that, following discussions with the EP and HR departments, the position of the next physics coordinator will be advertised from 14th November with a deadline of 9th January 2023. The start date would be 1st July 2023 giving, in principle, up to three months overlap with the present coordinator. The next step is to form the selection board and no procedural issues have arisen with regard to including the chairs of the INTC and ISCC as well as the ISOLDE Physics section leader as part of this board along with  representatives from both the EP and SY departments. The selection board should take place mid-February in order to make an offer to the selected candidate by the end of February. S. Freeman will consult with HR to see if it is possible to make applications accessible to ISCC members via CERNbox  so they can assist with shortlisting; this would, of course, have to adhere to confidentiality requirements.

S. Freeman informs the committee that input to the NuPECC LRP has been submitted on behalf of the ISOLDE Collaboration; the text was circulated to ISCC members for comment before submission. Sub-collaborations at ISOLDE have been encouraged to submit their own input in order to provide detail.

The committee is told that all member states of the ISOLDE Collaboration have now nominated their representatives on the new FRC except for Germany, Norway and Sweden. The first meeting, organised by the office of the CERN Director of Research and Computing, is expected to take place in February or March after the next ISCC meeting.

S. Freeman explains that the first part of the Spanish RRF funding has been held in a high level CERN account since December 2021. However, there is no precedent for this type of funding so procedures have to be established to ensure compliance with both EU and Spanish funding regulations.

The committee is informed that only two requests have been received for equipment purchases for the user community; a dry cabinet for silicon detector storage and a “double-sided” mixed alpha calibration source. New ideas are welcome.

The investigation into a recent incident at ISOLDE, involving a low current electric shock, uncovered a separate issue with three-phase wiring that could have led to a potentially fatal consequence. S. Freeman explains that this led to a significant period of downtime for the setup involved due to the require inspections, reviews and actions. However, the team involved engaged well with the process and significant issues have been resolved. A very good collaboration has been developed with EP-DSO; L. Rowlands and J. Devine are available for any discussions and advice regarding safety issues at ISOLDE. The local group has been reminded that safety files should be updated regularly, recommendations from safety inspections should be implemented quickly and that the required PPE must be worn in the ISOLDE hall.

The committee is told that the contributions received for the EPIC proceedings have been very useful input for preparing other documents but significant work is required to achieve a uniform style and content. Different aspects also have different timescales and, while there is already movement on medium term aspects of the EPIC project, longer term aspects need careful consideration regarding CERN strategy around, for example, the FCC and muon collider. S. Freeman has offered to assist K. Flanagan and G. Neyens with the preparation of the EPIC document that will most likely be a forward looking physics document. Technical details of longer-term upgrades could form a technical design report at an appropriate point as the longer-term strategy develops.

8. ISOLDE Improvements Planning – S. Freeman

The committee is informed that both the Beam Dump Study and the 2 GeV study group, lead by J. Vollaire, will deliver project and cost definitions by the end of 2022 in order for CERN to decide on their inclusion in the MTP for implementation during LS3. S. Freeman explains that HIE-ISOLDE issues have raised the profile of the need for planning with CERN management and have been discussed at the IEFC and with the Directorate highlighting a necessity to identify potential solutions. This, along with the need to define the decision making process around beam dumps and 2 GeV, led to a technical workshop being organised by SY and BE management on 19th October. This meeting was to identify critical aspects of the system or equipment that could jeopardize the ISOLDE facility availability and reliability and to review the planned and required consolidation plans. In addition, the users, operation and technical teams were asked to review any improvements to the facility that could further increase the physics outputs. The meeting produced extremely useful discussions highlighting a series of consolidation and improvement items including the possibility of keeping HIE-ISOLDE at 100K in order to avoid the time repeatedly lost to the recommissioning of cavities. Minutes of this meeting are being prepared and there needs to be a period of review so that initiatives beyond dumps and 2 GeV can be solidified but a prioritised report will be required for the IEFC during November.

S. Freeman explains that the timescales for progress on the MTP are aggressive and decisions will need to be made, together with ATS colleagues, on what priorities to present to management. The ISCC gives its support to S. Freeman to continue working in the same direction on this issue with priority to enhance physics opportunities and improve the operational aspects of HIE-ISOLDE running.

The ISCC is informed that a short meeting of the Group for the Upgrade of ISOLDE (GUI) was held recently, having been in hiatus since April 2020. At this meeting it was decided that there is a need for both discussion of priority of short-term developments motivated by INTC-LOIs                      and consideration of some of the priorities associated with medium term developments. It was also felt that external input to the GUI was important but that there needs to be a review and update of its membership.

9. News from ISOLDE group – S. Freeman

The committee is reminded that the 2022 ISOLDE Workshop and users meeting will take place at CERN from Wednesday 30th November to Friday 2nd December. The workshop will have a hybrid format to allow those not able to travel to CERN to join the event and the programme already available via https://indico.cern.ch/event/1183259/ . This year the workshop dinner will take place at the Hotel Eidelweiss in Geneva.

The present manpower situation in the ISOLDE Physics Group is summarised by S. Freeman:    

•           Research Fellows = “Senior Research Fellows Experimental and Theoretical Physics (Category 1)”: Liss Vasquez Rodriquez - COLLAPS (Oct. 2020 – extended to Nov. 2022), Erich Leichensteiner (April 2021 – March 2023), Agi Koszorus – CRIS (October 2021 – Sept. 2023), Zoe Favier -IDS/Miniball (March 2022 – February 2024), Simon Lechner – VITO/PUMA (Nov. 2022 – Oct. 2024).

•           Applied Fellows = “Research Fellowship In Science And Engineering (Category 2)”: Bruno Olaizola – HIE-ISOLDE (September 2020 – extended to Dec. 2022), Frank Browne – MINIBALL (Sept. 2021 – August 2023), Patrick Macgregor – HIE-ISOLDE (Nov. 2022 to Oct. 2024).

•           Marie-Curie Individual Fellow: Monika Piersa-Silkowska (Feb. 2022 – Jan. 2024)

•           Scientific Associates: Georgi Georgiev (6 months, August 2022 to January 2023), Andrei Andreyev (12 months, October 2022 to September 2023).

•           Corresponding Associate:  None.

•           Doctoral Students: Lukas Nies (CERN via Gentner Doctoral Program) (November 2019 - special extension due to COVID to April 2023), Franziska Maier (CERN-MIRACLS via Gentner Doctoral Program) (February 2020 – special extension due to COVID to March 2023), Michail Athanasakis (CERN EP-SME) (Sept. 2020 – Aug. 2023), Marcus Jankowski (CERN via Gentner Doctoral Program) (January 2021 to December 2023), Tim Lellinger (CERN via Gentner Doctoral Program) (March 2021 – February 2024), Mateusz Chojnacki (CERN-ERC Betadrop) (July 2021 – June 2024).

•           Staff Members: Karl Johnston (Physics Coordinator) (October 2015 to September 2023), Sean Freeman (Physics Group Leader) (August 2021 to July 2024), Magdalena Kowalska (CERN staff member) (January 2020 -).           

•           Visiting Scientist: Stephan Malbrunot –TRIUMF Staff with CERN affiliation (1st Feb 2022 – December 2022)           

•           User: Jenny Weterings (User Support) ISOLDE Collaboration and University of Oslo (2002- )

Applications for the new “Graduate Programme”, that has replaced the CERN Fellows Programme, are greatly encouraged. The new programme includes a slight change in “applied” fellow’ eligibility and some changes to salaries and benefits but numbers should be maintained. Regarding CERN associates, as there is lots of competition for Scientific Associate positions, applications for Corresponding Associates are perhaps more likely to succeed. The next deadline is in March 2023; S. Freeman should be informed directly of all applications.

10. A.O.B.

  • The committee discusses funding of ISOLDE User support and agrees to increase the funds available.

17. Dates of the next meeting

The next ISSC meeting will be held at CERN on Thursday 9th March 2023.

Meeting ends at 14:30.

N.B. The above presentations can be found via https://indico.cern.ch/event/1212694/  .