Los Angeles, CA, and Geneva, Switzerland (October 31, 2007) - AEi Systems, a world leader in power systems analysis and design, announced today that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN (the European Centre for Nuclear Research) near Geneva, Switzerland, has engaged AEi Systems to design and develop a radiation-hard power supply for CERN’s giant ATLAS particle detector. The LHC will be the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator when it begins anticipated operations in 2008.
The contract was awarded by the United States Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, which heads the United States ATLAS collaboration. AEi Systems joined forces with Algen Design Services, a specialty electronics manufacturer, to win the design project.
The ATLAS experiment at the LHC will take place in a unit the size of a 7-story building and will cause protons to collide in and near the ATLAS particle detector at record energies of 7 TeV (7 trillion electronvolts) per proton.
The power supply for ATLAS is located close to the front-end crate of its liquid-argon calorimeters, and therefore the power supply will have to perform in one of the most challenging environments on Earth, facing high radiation (up to 100krad), single-event effects (hadrons with E>10MeV), and a large magnetic field (300Gauss). Radiation causes most commercial power supplies to short out in the 10-30krad range due to degradation of the internal semiconductor devices used in feedback loop and switching transistors. In addition, magnetic fields can cause the power supply’s magnetics to saturate.
Landmark Achievement in Power Supply Design
When CERN scientists needed a design for a 3kW DC-DC converter that could survive the high-radiation and magnetic field environment of ATLAS, AEi Systems’ extensive experience with space-grade radiation-hardened power electronics made it a top resource. What made this design assignment even more challenging than the already difficult-to-achieve operational specification requirements was that ATLAS scientists also wanted a lower-cost solution with a price-point closer to that of commercial units. This goal was set even though radiation-tolerant military and space power supplies traditionally use very expensive parts that have been specially designed and tested for their ability to survive in such environments.
Despite these challenges, AEi Systems, together with Algen, was able to provide a high-grade solution that uses less expensive “off-the-shelf” parts through application of unique design concepts and topologies along with careful component selection supported by radiation testing.
“We are very proud and excited that AEi Systems has been selected to design this
very important power supply,” said Charles Hymowitz, Managing Director of AEi Systems.
“AEi Systems’ record of space and satellite achievement is especially applicable
when customers need products to operate reliably under such harsh radiation conditions.
The development of this robust power supply using ‘off-the-shelf’ parts is a landmark
achievement in power supply design.”
ATLAS is one of the largest collaborative efforts ever attempted in the physical sciences, with participation from 2,000 physicists from more than 167 universities and laboratories in 37 countries. Further information about the ATLAS Collaboration can be found at http://atlas.ch.
Notes for Editors
ATLAS is one of the most ambitious scientific projects in the world. The machine is the size of a 7-story building and will open up new frontiers in the human pursuit of knowledge about elementary particles and their interactions. The machine is one of four facilities to be located at the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, now under construction near Geneva, in Switzerland.
Due to begin operation in 2008, the Large Hadron Collider consists of two circular vacuum pipes in which protons will travel in opposite directions and collide at nearly the speed of light with a total collision energy of 14 tera-electronvolts (TeV), or 14 trillion times the typical energy of an electron. The accelerator can also collide beams of heavy ions such as lead with a total energy of 1,250 TeV.
Large particle accelerators are designed to explore the nature of matter and the forces that shape the universe via super-high-energy collisions of subatomic particles such as protons and neutrons. ATLAS is designed to detect particles created by the proton-proton collisions. One of its main goals is to look for a particle dubbed the “Higgs” that may be the source of mass for all matter. Findings may also offer insight into new physics theories as well as a better understanding of the origin of the universe.
About AEi Systems
AEi Systems is the world leader in SPICE modeling; worst case, failure, and reliability analysis; and power systems analysis and design. Founded in 1995, AEi Systems has a hard-earned reputation for delivering its products and services on time, under budget, and to customer specifications, and serves nearly every significant IC and aerospace manufacturer and many of their customers.
AEi Systems’ headquarters are in Los Angeles, California. For more information, please contact AEi Systems at (310) 216-1144 or visit AEi Systems’ website at www.AEiSystems.com.
Last updated August 30th, 2010