Cryogenics 2019: NICA project aims at studying the state of matter existing shortly after the Big Bang

NICA project for a new superconducting accelerator complex in Russia attracted a lot of interest during IIR Cryogenics conference in Prague, in April 2019.

NICA (Nuclotron-based Ion Collider fA?ility) project for a new accelerator complex designed at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Dubna, Russia, was a hot topic during the successful 15th international conference Cryogenics 2019 of the IIR, which took place in Prague, Czech Republic on April 8-11, 2019.

The NICA international project aims at studying properties of nuclear matter in the region of the maximum baryonic density. This state of matter – the Quark-Gluon Plasma – existed only at the early stages of the evolution of our Universe, up to a few milliseconds after the Big Bang.

A paper by Nikolay Agapov et al.[1] describes in detail the NICA cryogenic system and the facility for magnet testing. Since 1992, the largest Russian liquid helium plant for the superconducting accelerator Nuclotron has been operating at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research. Plans of further developing the basic facilities at the JINR Laboratory of High Energy Physics include building new accelerators: booster and collider, both using the Nuclotron-type magnets with superconducting windings cooled to the liquid helium temperature of 4.5 K. These two accelerators, together with the existing Nuclotron, will be combined into the NICA complex.

Refrigeration capacity needed for the NICA complex will be about 10 kW at 4.5 K. The helium cryogenic system will be based on helium screw compressors of a new design, the central liquefier and “satellite” refrigerators. Besides, a new closed-cycle nitrogen cryogenic system with the capacity of 2300 kg/h of liquid nitrogen will be constructed on the basis of re-condensers, the liquefier and turbo compressors.

The total “cold” mass of the superconducting magnets (SCs) is 290 t. The unique feature of the Nuclotron-type magnets is their capability for very fast cycling (with the pulse repetition rate up to 1 Hz). The magnets must therefore have very reliable cooling conditions. These conditions are possible thanks to the use of a two-phase helium flow and a hollow superconductor. In the frame of this project, it is necessary to produce and test 450 SC magnets: 133 magnets for booster synchrotron and 317 magnets for collider ring. A paper by Dmitry Nifikorov et al.[2] describes the test facility based on helium refrigerators and the test results.

Another paper by Yury Bespalov et al.[3] presents two methods for determining the static thermal leakage and dynamic heat rejection for all SC magnets of the NICA accelerator complex and a comparative analysis of these methods.

All papers from Cryogenics 2019 conference are downloadable in the FRIDOC database.

[1] Agapov N. et al. Cryogenic Technologies of the Superconducting NICA Accelerator Complex. Available in FRIDOC.

[2] Nikiforov D. et al. Superconducting Magnets for NICA Project. Avalable in FRIDOC.

[3] Bespalov Y. et al. Measurement of Static Heat Leak and Dynamic Heat Releases for NICA SC Magnets. Available in FRIDOC.

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