Lasers, machine learning, superconducting technologies... Future accelerators can count on a myriad of innovations to reinvent themselves, increase their efficiency and scientific capacity, reduce their impact on the environment and make them ever more useful to society.
In early May, members of the European accelerator community gathered at CERN's Globe of Innovation for the first annual meeting of the I.FAST project. This EU-funded project aims to enhance innovation in the design of future particle accelerators. With 48 partners from 15 countries via coordination by CERN, the project brings together the main European players in the field to facilitate together the development of breakthrough technologies common to multiple accelerator platforms. This first yearly meeting was timed to follow directly the final one of ARIES, benefitting from the participation of many partners in both projects and ensuring a seamless progression to the innovation agenda of I.FAST.
The four-day conference was an opportunity to review the state of the art in accelerator innovation. Many topics were explored, including novel infrastructures and sustainable concepts for accelerators, innovative superconducting magnets and additive manufacturing, as well as the growth in societal applications. The programme and all presentations are available here.
This annual meeting was also an opportune moment to present the different programmes offered to the project members. From the I.FAST Internal Innovation Fund, which allows groups of laboratories and industry to finance their innovation, to the Industrial Traineeship Programme, which allows young engineers to come and train in the laboratory, the exchange between laboratory and industry is essential to the collaboration.
With 16 industrial partners, I.FAST gives a special role to industry. A whole day was dedicated to the I.FAST Accelerator-Industry Co-Innovation Workshop, one of the prime opportunities for European companies providing components and technologies for accelerator development, to meet in person with experts from CERN and other major laboratories and scientific institutions. During the workshop the main projects, the most promising R&D lines and opportunities for companies were presented and discussed.
A final highlight, the workshop on additive manufacturing (AM), provided the opportunity to raise awareness about advantages of AM in the accelerator community, covering both research infrastructures and societal applications. The potential and challenges of AM applications to particle accelerators were discussed with contributions from representatives of industry: Rösler, Trumpf and Taniobis. Building on this successful blending of industry and laboratory expertise, the event will be run next year on another topic explored by the I.FAST Work Package 10.