Introduction & History

Elettra configuration since 2007

A new building accommodating a small LINAC injector and a booster has been built in the central empty space of the storage ring building. The full energy injector project started in 2005 and finished by providing beam in March 2008 on time and within budget. This new injection chain consists of a 100 MeV linear accelerator and a 2.5 GeV booster that sends the beam into the storage ring at a rate of up to 3 Hz.

The electrons are generated in a small linac. They start off from a ceramic disc that is heated to very high temperature. An electric field of up to 100 kV draws out the electrons that are then accelerated through two radio-frequency structures that make up the linac. The linac is composed of the Gun (that houses the ceramic disc), a low energy bunching section and two high-energy sections. The overall length of the linac is 12 m and contains two high-energy sections each 5m long. Between accelerating sections quadrupole magnets keep the beam focused. The linac operates at 3 GHz and generates a pulse of electron bunches that are accelerated to the final energy of 100 MeV. In order not to lose electrons as they are accelerated the entire linac is under vacuum, as is the transfer lines the booster and storage ring. In this way collisions with gas molecules, that would otherwise cause the loss of electrons, are avoided.

The small linac

The electrons exiting the linac are then transported to the booster by a transfer line (a series of deflection and focussing magnets). The booster is a simple synchrotron of 118 m of circumference that can accelerate a maximum of 6 mA current from 100 MeV up to 2.5 GeV with a repetition rate of 3 Hz. It operates always at full cycle (100 MeV to 2.5 GeV) and the electrons are extracted at the needed energy by adjusting the extraction kicker time. 

A view to a part of the booster

The booster is using the on-axis injection scheme therefore can not accumulate electrons (since it is not needed). Once the electrons arrive at the requested energy are extracted to a long transfer line that arrives to the storage ring.

Booster to Storage ring transfer line

The storage ring is filled by a multi-turn injection process whereby pulses of electrons from the booster are gradually fed into the ring three times a second until the desired current is achieved using special magnets called septa and kickers.

The injection elements fo Elettra

Usually Elettra is filled with 310 mA when at 2 GeV and 150 mA when at 2.4 GeV. More than 500 mA have been stored at 1.5 GeV and more than 700 mA at 1 GeV. The maximum intensity is limited by the radiofrequency power and the thermal load in the vacuum chamber due to synchrotron radiation.

Storage ring showing the superconducting wiggler in front and the superconducting third harmonic cavity behind.

The variable polarization undulators for the SR-FEL serving also the nano- spectroscopy beam line and further in front a short undulator for the TweenMic beam line

The electrons circulating in the ring do so in a metal vacuum chamber. The vacuum that is maintained in the ring must be of very high quality, since unlike the LINAC and transfer line where an electron passes through once, in the ring the electrons, travelling close to the speed of light, traverse a given point more than a million times in one second. To maintain a long beam lifetime we must therefore reduce the chance of electrons colliding with gas molecules. The situation is further complicated by the copious emission of synchrotron radiation - around 90 kW of power just from the bending magnets. The unused radiation must be absorbed in special places otherwise chamber deformation and photo-electron release of surface gasses will occur.

top view
vacuum chamber1
start stop bwd fwd

The brightness of the photon beam is derived from the small transverse size and divergence of the electron beam. A parameter that encompasses these dimensions is the emittance defined as the area occupied by the beam in phase space. To obtain a small emittance the beam is strongly focused by the ring quadrupoles. Furthermore the bending magnets have a gradient to provide additional focussing. The use of strong focusing magnets leads to increased chromatic aberrations simply because the beam contains electrons with a distribution of energies (up to a few percent of the total energy). If uncorrected these chromatic effects will limit the current that can be stored to a few mA. Sextupole magnets, placed at points in the ring where electrons with different energies travel different paths (dispersion regions), are used to compensate these unwanted effects. The story does not end here though because the chromatic sextupoles themselves introduce non-linear motion of the electrons that may lead to particle loss. This effect is in turn compensated by additional sextupoles place at points in the ring where the electrons travel the same path even if they have different energies.

 SRPM image and the dimensions of the beam

The energy lost by the electrons when emitting synchrotron radiation is compensated by radio-frequency cavities. Four single cell cavities are used and have been positioned between dipole magnets in the dispersion region thereby allowing maximum use of the long straight sections for insertion devices. The cavities, operating at 500 MHz, produce a longitudinally bunched beam, simply because only those electrons arriving at the right time will be accelerated and the rest lost. The maximum number of electron bunches, separated by 2 ns, that can fit in the ring circumference is 432. There is a great deal of flexibility in filling the ring: from one bunch to any combination. The usual mode of operation is multi-bunch where roughly 95% of the ring circumference is filled with electron bunches. The summed voltages of the cavities determine the (longitudinal) energy acceptance and electrons having energies outside the acceptance are lost. The energy acceptance is an important parameter and partially governs the lifetime of the stored beam. This arises because collisions between electrons within the highly dense bunches (a consequence of low emittance) transfer energy from the transverse plane to the longitudinal (the Touschek effect). The lifetime is therefore essentially determined by the quality of the vacuum and the quality of the emittance.


 The beam train seen on an oscilloscope

Radio-frequency cavity installed in the storage ring


Users are sensitive to variations in beam parameters. Unwanted motion of the electron beam translates as an effective emittance growth or worse still as jumps in intensity and loss of brightness. The disturbances have different time scales ranging from months to milliseconds and require different techniques for their suppression or control. The slowest instabilities affect the orbit of the beam and are mainly due to changes in temperature (of buildings, electronic components, ring equipment, etc…). To control the orbit Beam Position Monitors - BPM's are used to provide information to orbit correction programs. The resolution of the BPM's has to be good (sub- micron) to enable effective control of the beam that has typical dimensions of tens of microns. The faster instabilities require feedback systems.


 The BPM mounted on a quadrupole


 Elettra is having a full set of feedback systems that together with the third harmonic syper conducting passive cavity and the fine tuning of the cavity temperatures eliminate all multibunch instabilities. A fast global orbit feedback is also used to keep the orbit stable with submicron accuracy.

The energy of the circulating electrons can be varied up to 2.4 GeV. A typical annual operating schedule allocates about 25% of beam time at this energy and the remaining time at 2.0 GeV. The storage ring operates on a twenty-four hour basis for up to 6500 hours a year (about 75% of the year). These hours are distributed into so called Runs, i.e., blocks of time that usually last seven to ten weeks. A Run is further split into periods lasting about a week for the production of light for the Users interspersed by one or two days of machine dedicated studies. Machine studies, performed by accelerator physicists and engineers, are all geared towards bettering the quality of the light and the commissioning of new systems. The Runs are separated by the Shutdown periods that usually last from one to four weeks. During Shutdowns maintenance of systems and the installation of new equipment is performed and is an essential activity in the life of the facility.

All systems are controlled from the Elettra control room, whereas the equipments are in special service areas.


 Elettra control room

 Service gallery

Finally the experiments are performed in the experimental hall.

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 December 2011 16:32