High-Radiation to Materials (HiRadMat) Facility of CERN/SPS 


HiRadMat (High-Radiation to Materials) is a new facility at CERN, designed to provide high-intensity pulsed beams to an irradiation area where material samples as well as accelerator component assemblies can be tested. The creation of such a dedicated facility, was initiated by R. Assman as part of the LHC Collimation project​. The design of the facility follows the initial specification document, describing the requirements for a Test Facility with High-Power LHC-type beams. The creation of the facility was also recommended by the CERN Future Irradiation Facilities Working Group.​

 Beam Parameters

The facility uses a 440 GeV proton beam extracted from the CERN SPS with a pulse length of 7.2 musec, to a maximum pulse energy of 3.4 MJ. In addition to protons, ion beams with an energy of 173.5 GeV/nucleon and a total pulse energy of 21 kJ can be used. The beam parameters can be tuned to match the needs of each experiment. A detailed description of the facility is available within the descriptive part (EDMS Doc No:1145711)​ of the safety file of the facility. 


HiRadMat is not an irradiation facility where large doses on equipment can be accumulated. It is rather a test area designed to perform single experiments to evaluate the effect of high-intensity pulsed beams on materials or accelerator component assemblies in a controlled environment. The facility is designed for a 1016 maximum number of protons per year, distributed among 10 experiments, each having a total of 1015 protons or about 100 high-intensity pulses. This limit allows reasonable cool-down times for the irradiated objects (few months to a year) before they can be analysed in a specialized lab. 

Experiments in HiRadMat must comply with strict safety requirements according to the CERN rules and regulations, while access in the underground experimental area is constantly controlled. The first experiments in the facility were performed during the 2012 operation of SPS (April'12-November'12).  The first tests included candidate materials and prototype assemblies of LHC collimators foreseen to operate at the ultimate LHC beam powers. Experiments on beam windows and high-power target material options, such as tungsten powder, are also planned. 

HiRadMat facility is open to all CERN users and external groups as all other experimental areas and test beams at CERN. In addition, the facility has been awarded funds within the EuCARD-2 FP7 program as Transnational Access HiRadMat@SPS-TA to support and encourage participation of EU collaborators interested in using the facility for tests of materials for accelerator or detector R&D (eligibility and application). The available funds can cover travel expenses, access costs including studies for radiation protection and safety issues, and some local technical or administrative support.

Users that would like to use the facility for their own experiments, need to carefully consult the guidelines & the experiment approval​ procedures. A recent call for beam time applications closed ended with the deadline 6th February 2014. The submitted proposals will be reviewed by the HiRadMat Scientific Committee in the course of March 2014. The next call for beam time requests will be published in summer 2014 for beam time from Mid 2015 onwards. The CERN accelerator complex is currently not in operation and will restart with beam also for HiRadMat in autumn 2014.