Engineering Education Scheme and ISIS
18 May 2009



Students from Kennet School, Thatcham worked with engineers at ISIS to develop a new position monitor calibration system.

Four students from Kennet School worked with engineers at ISIS on a new position monitor calibration system.

The Engineering Education Scheme (England) is run by the Engineering Development Trust (EDT), an independent registered charity whose mission is to ‘encourage young people to fulfill their potential through careers in science, engineering and technology’. The programme links teams of year 12 students and their teacher with a local company to work on a real scientific, engineering or technological problem.

This year Thomas Milburn, Michael Livermore‐Tozer, Stephen Millyard and Georgia Gostling from Kennet School and their teacher Dr Lynne Harrison were linked with Peter Barnes, Jonny Ranner and Sarah Whitehead from ISIS.

The project brief given to the students by the engineers was to design an automated calibration system for the ISIS beam position monitors.  Cylindrical split-electrode monitors are used to assess the position of the proton beam around ISIS. Prior to installation these monitors need to be calibrated to determine the relationship between the output signal from each of the electrodes and the beam position. This new system will replace the current method of calibration which involves securing grid plates, with a matrix of 2mm holes spaced 5mm apart, to the front and rear of the monitor. The grid plates support a copper pipe, which carries the calibration signal, between two corresponding holes. After taking a reading from each electrode one grid plate needs to be removed, the copper pipe moved one hole then the grid plated replaced before the next reading can be done. The engineers were keen to have the calibration system automated as it is currently a long laborious task.

The student’s solution consists of two 433mm stages in XY configuration driven by stepper motors, with encoders for positional feedback. The vertical stage has a brake to allow the position to be held when the motor is de-energised. A copper pipe imitates the ISIS beam and is mounted on the stages. Four distance measuring sensors, mounted around the pipe, determine the diameter and location of the centre of the monitor. A LabVIEW program acts as the interface between the user and the system.

During the project the students gained experience of problem solving, team working, presentation skills and project management and achieved a BA Crest Award at Gold Standard. The system will be of great benefit to the ISIS diagnostics section as they can now calibrate beam a position monitor in a few minutes, rather than a few hours.