TUT participates in the reliability study of CERN’s proposed future circular collider
Professor Seppo Virtanen (in the middle) and doctoral students Douzi Imran Khan, Arto Niemi and Jussi-Pekka Penttinen are working with CERN to assess the reliability of and potential risks associated with the proposed future collider.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research CERN has set its sights on building an ambitious successor to the Large Hadron Collider. Professor Seppo Virtanen leads a team of researchers who are working with CERN to foresee and mitigate potential risks associated with the proposed circular collider in the design stage.
European Organization for Nuclear Research CERN
- The world’s largest particle physics laboratory
- Established in 1954
- Located on the French-Swiss border near Geneva
- 21 member states
- 2,250 employees
- Welcomes thousands of visiting researchers each year
- The Higgs boson was discovered at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider
- Read more about CERN
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is installed deep underground in a tunnel near Lake Geneva. Started in 2008, the LHC is the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator and the only machine capable of spotting the elusive Higgs boson, which provides new insights into the earliest moments of our universe. The LHC fills a 27-kilometre circular tunnel, where two beams of protons travel in opposite directions before colliding at a combined energy of up to 14 teraelectronvolts (TeV).
The LHC is housed in the European Organization for Nuclear Research CERN. With the LHC and its planned upgrades, CERN is set to remain the world leader in the field of high-energy physics until the 2030’s and is attracting the best scientists from all over the world. To maintain and further strengthen Europe’s prime position beyond the LHC physics programme, the development of a new world-class high-energy physics research infrastructure must be started now. Consequently, CERN has initiated a long-term project to construct a massive next-generation particle collider with a circumference of 80–100 kilometres. It would pass under Lake Geneva.
The proposed 100 TeV proton-proton collider will secure Europe’s world-leading position in particle physics and high-energy physics for many decades and provide access to energy scales an order of magnitude above the LHC with unprecedented discovery potential. It would help unravel some of the secrets of the Higgs boson, dark matter and other phenomena underlying the origin of our universe and hopefully lead to breakthroughs, among others, in the sustainable production of energy.
Reliability and availability are the key quality attributes of the proposed future circular collider
It is important for scientists to keep the collider running around the clock, as only one collision per million will produce a Higgs boson.
”Soon after the LHC was first started in September 2008, it suffered an unexpected malfunction that led to extensive maintenance and downtime. Now that CERN is planning to build a next-generation particle collider, reliability, availability and probabilistic risk assessment are given especially high priority,” Professor Seppo Virtanen says.
CERN has launched a global Future Circular Collider (FCC) design study that brings together the world’s leading research institutions and manufacturers. The aim is to develop a conceptual design, demonstrate the key technologies and derive a cost estimate for energy-frontier collider options in a new tunnel infrastructure. The final report is expected by the end of 2018.
RAMS design methods and tools to be applied to particle accelerators
Professor Seppo Virtanen is one of the world’s foremost authorities in the field of RAMS.
Professor Seppo Virtanen of Tampere University of Technology and his research team have been selected to carry out the RAMS (Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety) Study, which is an essential part of the FCC project.
Professor Virtanen is one of the world’s foremost authorities in the field of RAMS. Since 1996, he and his research team have produced design methods and tools to integrate the RAMS aspects into the complex systems and service design and development process. The focus of his research work during the last seven years has been to develop probabilistic methods for innovative system-service design and development, where information and communication technology (ICT) is integrated to systems, and intelligent maintenance systems (IMS) are applied to probabilistic risk assessment and life cycle management. The research has been carried out together with leading industrial companies. The participants represent manufacturers and users in metal, energy, nuclear power, electronics and process industries.
Professor Virtanen’s contributions to the field of RAMS are immense, ranging from highly mission critical automated final disposal facilities of spent nuclear fuel to technology and engineering companies whose systems have to meet high safety and availability demands. He has successfully carried out many RAMS studies within the feasibility and conceptual design phase of large-scale investment projects worldwide for, among others, Statoil, Procter & Gamble, Wartsila, Metso, Kone and Cargotec Corporations.
Dream team is what Virtanen calls the four researchers selected from among his team to take part in the RAMS Study.
”In Finland, we are the leading research group in the field of RAMS design and probabilistic risk assessment, and we are also internationally recognized. My vision is for TUT to become one of the world’s leading universities in this field,” he says.
ELMAS software tipped the scales
The RAMS Study will address three major challenges.
”We’ll prepare a uniform frame for the RAMS study of large-scale investment projects. The established approach is applied to improve the performance of the current LHC. We’ll scale up the RAMS findings to analyse the feasibility of the current and new technology for the needs of FCC. In addition, we’ll train CERN system experts to apply the established methods, tools and guidelines to study and assess the systems’ RAMS requirements and performance in the FCC Study.”
The Tampere-based spin-off Ramentor was born out of research conducted by Virtanen’s group. According to Virtanen, this was one of the factors that won his team the assignment to oversee the RAMS Study.
Established in 2006, Ramentor has developed ELMAS (Event Logic Modelling and Analysis Software) for the RAMS engineering and management of systems and for probabilistic risk assessment throughout their lifecycle.
All set for Geneva
Arto Niemi is one of the members of Virtanen’s research team and among the few lucky ones admitted as a doctoral student to CERN. He is leaving for Switzerland in May to conduct his dissertation research at CERN within the framework of the RAMS Study. Niemi will complete the courses required for a doctoral degree at TUT.
“I’m excited to be going to CERN. The experience will provide first-hand insights into research conducted around the world,” Niemi says.
In addition to Arto Niemi, the RAMS project involves Jussi-Pekka Penttinen and Douzi Imran Khan who are also working towards a doctorate under the supervision of Professor Virtanen.
“The research conducted at CERN sheds light on the underlying physics of our universe. But from a practical point of view, new technological applications that lay the foundation for fundamental discoveries are equally important,” Niemi says.
The World Wide Web is one of the applications that can be traced back to a project at CERN. It was invented by British scientist Tim Berners Lee, who saw the potential of the Internet for the wider world. As Niemi says, research conducted at CERN has also contributed to the development of new technology that can be applied to the protection of electronics and satellites against radiation.
Wide-ranging collaboration between TUT and CERN
TUT is involved in a number of collaborative research projects with CERN.
Putting innovations to use
”The research undertaken at CERN has a significant impact on society. The solutions developed at CERN have a wealth of potential applications across various industries. An example of this is detector technology that is now being utilized in medical imaging systems,” says Professor of Industrial Management Saku Mäkinen of TUT.
Mäkinen works at CERN as the director of the Technology Programme administered by Helsinki Institute of Physics (HIP) at the University of Helsinki. HIP manages Finland’s involvement with CERN and coordinates the visits of Finnish scientists and students to CERN.
At CERN, Mäkinen promotes the wider utilization and commercialization of CERN-related technologies and innovations. ”I’m working in close collaboration with CERN’s Knowledge Transfer Group, IdeaSquare, researchers and industry.”
Superconducting magnets and a quench protection concept
Postdoctoral researcher Antti Stenvall is leading the EuCARD2 project in the Department of Electrical Engineering at TUT. As the project seeks to develop novel accelerator technologies for CERN, doctoral student Erkki Härö is building a demo version of high-temperature superconducting magnets. They are the only magnets capable of producing a magnetic field that is strong enough to keep the particles in their orbit around the circular collider.
In addition, Stenvall is participating in the European Circular Collider (EuroCirCol) project related to CERN’s Future Circular Collider (FCC) Study. The four-year project has received funding under the EU’s Horizon2020 call and is scheduled to begin in June 2015. TUT’s role in the project is to devise a quench protection concept for the dipole magnets that keep the beams on their circular path. The research will be carried out by Tiina Salmi, who will soon graduate with a doctoral degree from TUT.
“Collaboration with CERN offers us the opportunity to build close ties with the international research community and contribute to the development of the world’s most expensive research infrastructure in state-of-the-art facilities,” Stenvall says.
PURESAFE is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN)
Jouni Mattila, Professor in the Department of Intelligent Hydraulics and Automation at TUT, coordinated the international PURESAFE ITN that ended in early 2015 and involved, among others, CERN and TUT. PURESAFE was the first Marie Curie ITN coordinated by a Finnish university. The three-year project financed the studies of five students pursuing a doctorate at TUT, who had the opportunity to spend a period conducting research at CERN. Douzi Imran Khan is one of the 15 researchers who took part in the PURESAFE project.
“The first one to complete a dissertation was Hector Martinez Landa, who developed an augmented reality platform. It was used to build a guiding system that aids collimator exchange at the Large Hadron Collider,” Mattila says.
Text: Leena Koskenlaakso
Photo: Mika Kanerva