The ISIS Low Energy Beams Group operates and maintains the ion source, which produces the H- ions that are the very first stage of the neutron production process at ISIS. The group are world leaders in this field and their technical expertise is unique. It's for this reason that, in 2020, a Kinectrics staff member requested that the ISIS Low Energy Beams group deliver a technical consultancy service to assist them in the design of a heavy ion source.
Kinectrics Ltd is a multinational company with sites in seven countries, including the UK, that provides lifecycle management solutions for the electricity industry. The initial three-month contract was a success, as the ISIS staff were able to successfully advise the company on how to proceed with their design, solving the issues they had come up against. By engaging with industry and their cutting-edge challenges, the staff also gained an insight into the leading edge of commercial development in the field.
By participating in this collaboration, the staff have gained more experience in generating heavy elements, something that will be useful when developing an Ion Beam Analysis facility.
The work involves selective excitation using tuned lasers, which the group are currently investigating in a project with the University of Jyväskylä to increase the output of the ISIS ion source. Therefore, the work they're doing at Kinectrics will give them experience they can apply to future developments at ISIS.
The collaboration has been such a success that a follow-up contract has been requested, for the staff to take the company's design concept through to manufacturing. By supporting UK industry working on charged particle source, as Kinectrics is, ISIS is able to foster growth in this area that will benefit the UK plasma community as a whole. This work will also help to create networks of technical staff to share expertise in these methods beyond ISIS and STFC.