Ready for Transfer

Ready for Transfer: Compact SRF Accelerator

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Technology: Compact Superconducting Radio-Frequency (SRF) Accelerator

Opportunity: This Fermilab developed technology is in the prototype stage of readiness. Funding and development partners wanted to get this prototype off the ground and into the marketplace. 

Details: Accelerators developed for science now are used broadly for industrial, medical, and security applications. Over 30,000 accelerators touch over $500 billion/year in products, producing a major impact on our economy, health, and wellbeing. Industrial accelerators must be cost-effective, simple, versatile, efficient, and robust. Many industrial applications require high average beam power. Exploiting recent advances in SRF cavities and RF power sources, as well as innovative solutions for the SRF gun and cathode system, Fermilab has developed a design for a compact SRF high-average power electron linear accelerator (linac). Capable of 5- to 50-kW average power and continuous wave operation, this accelerator produces electron beam energies up to 10 MeV. Small and light enough to mount on mobile platforms, such accelerators enable new in-situ environmental remediation, in-situ crosslinking of materials, and security applications. More importantly, this accelerator will be the first of a new class of simple turnkey SRF accelerators that will find broad applications in industry, medicine, security, and science.

Benefits: Use of SRF cavities allows linacs less than 1.5 meters in length to create electron beams beyond 10 MeV with average beam powers measured in 10s of kW. Such compact SRF accelerators have high wall plug power efficiencies and require smaller radiation enclosures, reducing overall installation costs. These accelerators can be cost-effective for many existing and proposed industrial applications. Examples include radiation crosslinking of plastics and rubbers; creation of pure materials with surface properties radically altered from the bulk; modification of bulk or surface optical properties of materials; radiation-driven chemistry; food preservation; sterilization of medical instruments; sterilization of animal solid or liquid waste; and destruction of organic compounds in industrial wastewater effluents. The use of high frequency (1.3 GHz) SRF cavities with very low cryogenic losses permits the accelerator to be more compact and cheaper, and achieve better performance, including CW operation compared to copper pulsed linacs or lower frequency SRF accelerators based on spoke resonators. Very low cryogenic losses permit the elimination of cryogens from the accelerator, drastically simplifying the system and reducing size and weight, enabling mobile applications.

Potential Applications:

  • Oncology
  • Sterilization
  • Semiconductors
  • Hospital environments

Contact: For more details on the compact SRF accelerator technology and opportunity, contact Aaron Sauers, Patent & Licensing Executive, Fermilab, at