Image 1 - Illinois And Energy Dept. Invest $33M In Fermilab Research Center
December 18, 2011

Illinois And Energy Dept. Invest $33M In Fermilab Research Center

Fermilab broke ground on Friday on a new Accelerator Research Center, where physicists will work on the development and industrialization of particle accelerator technology.

Once completed in 2013, the 48,000-square-foot complex will wrap around Fermilab´s orange Collider Detector Facility building.

The State of Illinois is providing $20 million to design and build a part of the complex, while the U.S. Department of Energy will contribute $13 million to refurbish an existing building that will be part of the facility.

Particle accelerators like Fermilab´s now-defunct Tevatron were at one time used to conduct basic research on the nature of the universe.  However, accelerators have broader uses today for commercial applications, said Fermilab Director Pier Oddone.

The goal for the new center is to build relationships between scientists and the private sector to develop accelerator technology that can be used in medicine, national security and other industries.

The facility will also work to address environmental issues, such as purifying wastewater, and providing energy-efficient sterilization of medical instruments and food packaging.

In addition to well-known accelerators such as Fermilab´s Tevatron or the Large Hadron Collider in Europe, more than 30,000 smaller particle accelerators exist throughout the world, and can be used for applications beyond basic science research.

“The innovation now implemented in many areas often came about as the byproduct of our pushing the technological envelope of our own accelerators ... needed for advancing particle physics,” said Oddone.

Illinois lawmakers in attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony praised the project for its contribution to the local economy.  The facility is expected to create some 200 high-tech jobs in the area.

“Illinois has a history of recognizing the value of national laboratories to spur private sector development,” said state Representative Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago), a former Fermilab particle physicist who now represents the 95th District.

“This is the kind of project I always hoped to be able to point to when I got to the legislature,” he said.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said Fermilab´s new facility demonstrates the state´s continued emphasis on investing in the future.

“In Illinois we understand the importance of investing in cutting-edge technologies, which not only boosts our economy, but also secures our role as a major competitor in the global marketplace,” said Quinn in a prepared statement.

“The best minds in the world are right here, and today we are investing in our future by ensuring that the latest groundbreaking particle research activities will continue to come from Illinois.”


Image 1: t the Illinois Accelerator Research Center, scientists and engineers will partner with industry to research and develop superconducting radio frequency technology and advance US industrial capabilities. SRF technology provides a highly efficient way to accelerate beams of particles. Scientists consider it crucial for building next-generation particle accelerators. The technology also holds significant promise for applications in medicine, energy, material science and national security.

Image 2: When completed, the Illinois Accelerator Research Center will provide a state-of-the-art facility for research, development and industrialization of accelerator science and technology. In addition to attracting new private industry partners that will create new high-tech jobs in Illinois, the center will also collaborate with local universities to serve as a training facility for a new generation of scientists, engineers and technical staff in accelerator technology.


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