U.S. Particle Accelerator School

Superconducting Accelerator Magnets course

Sponsoring University:

University of Texas at Austin


Superconducting Accelerator Magnets

Paolo Ferracin and Ezio Todesco, CERN; Soren O. Prestemon and Helene Felice, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

Purpose and Audience
This course will instruct students on the physics and technology of superconducting magnets for particle accelerators. It is suitable for undergraduate or graduate students with a particular interest in applied superconductivity. The course is also appropriate for physicists or engineers working in accelerator-related fields who wish to broaden their background.


General knowledge of electromagnetism, thermo-dynamics and theory of elasticity.

It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that he or she meets the course prerequisites or has equivalent experience.

On completion of this course, the students are expected to understand the basic physical principles behind a superconducting magnet for particle accelerators, to explain key parameters from a magnetic, mechanical and thermal point of view, and to perform preliminary design studies of superconducting magnet systems for diverse applications.

Instructional Method
This course includes a series of lectures in the morning and in the afternoon, followed by laboratory sessions with computer simulations on related subject matter. Problem sets, to be completed outside of scheduled class time, will be assigned in the lecture sessions. There will be an open-book final exam at the conclusion of the course.

Course Content
The course will begin with a review of basic accelerator physics concepts and a description of the main requirements (e.g. field, gradient, and aperture) for a particle accelerator magnet. Fundamental properties of superconducting materials will then be covered, with particular emphasis on the design of practical superconducting strands and cables for accelerator magnets.

We will introduce the main concepts of magnet design, starting from analytic description of field harmonics and proceeding to coil magnetic configurations and mechanical containment structures. Analysis and experimental techniques will be presented to address the associated issues, with particular attention to stress analysis and mitigation through appropriate structural and fabrication choices. Field quality will be discussed, both in terms of design and measurements.

Magnet stability and the quench phenomenon will be analyzed. Quench detection and system protection methods will be reviewed and related to conductor properties and magnet design. Finally, an historical review of superconducting magnets in accelerators and their performance will also be presented. The laboratory sessions will be closely related to the subject matter in the lectures. Computer lab modules will be used as aides for magnet design exercises.

Reading Requirements
(to be provided by the USPAS) "Superconducting Accelerator Magnets" by K. H. Mess, P. Schmuser, and S. Wolff, World Scientific Publishers (1996). Additional materials and lecture notes will be provided by the instructors.

Suggested Reading
- H. Brechna, "Superconducting Magnet Systems", Springer-Verlag Publishers (1973).
- Martin N. Wilson, "Superconducting Magnets", Oxford University Press (1987).
- Yukikazu Iwasa, "Case Studies in Superconducting Magnets: Design and Operational Issues", second edition, Springer Publishers (2010).
- Lawrence Dresner, "Stability of Superconductors", Springer Publishers (2010).
- Fred M. Asner, "High Field Superconducting Magnets", Oxford University Press (1999).

Credit Requirements
Students evaluation will be based on the homework assignments (70 % of final grade) and the final exam (30% of final grade).

IU/USPAS course: Physics 671