Work on the LightHouse project at RI is at full swing, and it is our great pleasure to announce that last week on Friday, April 1st (no joke!), RI successfully produced the 1st electron beam in the beam test facility.
Goal of the LightHouse project, which constitutes the first industrial use of a high-power linear accelerator based on superconducting RF technology, is to establish a novel, sustainable method for the production of 99Molybdenum (Mo-99), the world’s most used medical isotope and a unique tool in medical diagnostics. This novel method is based on an electron accelerator, and RI Research Instruments has been tasked with the accelerator design and prototyping by the Institute for Radio Elements in the framework of their SMART project.
This first electron beam in the beam test facility was an important step in our task of demonstrating that the electron beam needed to irradiate the Mo-100 target can actually be produced. It involved the tests of photocathode production and in-vacuum transfer, application of high-voltage, illumination with a pulsed laser beam, read out of several diagnostic tools using the control system, magnets for steering and focusing the beam, integrity of the full vacuum system, test of the trigger system for pulsed beam production, a safety system for access and laser control, infrastructure for cooling, radiation protection, clean air purging, etc.
While it is still a long way to prove full functionality and specifications, we did manage to do this important first step just in time for the IRE board meeting the same day.
We look forward to using the facility in the future for demonstrating the most important feasibility aspects of the LightHouse accelerator. It will also provide a lot of important insight for our interfaces with other partners in the project.
A big thank you to the team, to IRE for the trust it put in RI, and to the many suppliers that delivered core components!