The INFN laboratory LASA (short for Laboratorio Acceleratori e Superconduttività Applicata, i.e. Laboratory for Accelerators and Applied Superconductivity), in Segrate, at the outskirts of Milano, is an internationally known Particle Accelerator Technology excellence center since nearly thirty years.
From an idea of Prof. Francesco Resmini (1938-1984), here the third superconducting cyclotron ever realized worldwide (and first in Europe) was designed, assembled and tested. The cyclotron is in regular operation since 1994 at the INFN LNS in Catania, for nuclear physics experiments and medical applications.
With the development of advanced technologies for superconductivity, cryogenics and the productions of high intensity DC and RF electromagnetic fields, the laboratory has built unique competences that allowed contributing to innovative components to large international accelerator projects for high energy and applied physics.
The main mission of LASA currently is the development of radiofrequency superconducting resonators for particle beam acceleration (RF), and superconducting magnets for particle beam orbit and focusing.
LASA activities extend to a wide spectrum of sectors, and in particular the development of superconducting (SRF) cavity resonators for particle accelerators. The LASA SRF group is also a worldwide reference for the development of photocathodes for high-brilliance electron sources, with open collaborations with the main international infrastructures. In these areas strong collaborations with the XFEL and ESS projects are ongoing.
LHC (Large Hadron Collider)
LASA contributed to the LHC success with the first prototypes of the dipole magnets for the accelerator and with the toroidal magnet for the largest of the LHC detector, ATLAS. The laboratory procured and certified 50% of the superconducting cable and managed the realization of the coils for the whole toroid system. Today LASA is frontline for the development of the technologies needed for the LHC long term upgrades. The MAGIX project foresees the design, realization and testing of the prototypes for the interaction region magnets of the HL-LHC (High Luminosity – LHC) the high luminosity machine upgrade that will allow the last operational phase of the LHC.
XFEL (European X Free Electron Laser)
The LASA coordinates the technical and scientific Italian participation to the EU-XFEL (European X Free Electron laser), the European infrastructure based on a powerful X-Ray FEL source, which will start its operation in 2017 in Hamburg (Germany). EU-XFEL will deliver X-Ray beams to worldwide research groups, in the physics, biology, medical and material science sectors. LASA had the responsibility of the procurement, through the national industry, half of the 800 superconducting cavities of the electron accelerator, approximately half of the cryogenic modules and the third harmonic system that allows obtaining the high beam currents needed for the FEL action.
ESS (European Spallation Source)
LASA is also handling the design and development of the SRF cavities for the acceleration of the proton beam of the ESS, (European neutron Spallation Source), that in 2019 will become the most powerful neutron source worldwide for base and applied physics, in Lund (Sweden).
ELI e EUPRAXIA
As a partner of the European project ELI (Extreme Light Infrastrucure) and EUPRAXIA, LASA is involved in the application of laser driven particle accelerator schemes to medicine, nuclear physics, inertial fusion, material analysis, particularly with the development and the characterization of laser driven proton beams.
The LASA Laboratory of Radiochemistry has a long tradition in the optimization studies for the production of high specific activity radionuclides for use in nuclear medicine such as diagnostic radiology and metabolic radiotherapy. This activity requires the use of accelerators of particles and see today the involvement of the production center of radioisotopes ARRONAX in Nantes, France.
A collaboration with the LENA (Laboratorio Energia Nucleare Applicata i.e. Laboratory Applied Nuclear Energy) of the University of Pavia is devoted to nano-toxicology and pollution monitoring.
Over the years, the skills acquired at the LASA have led to the development of a number of physical activity applied and technological transfer.
LASA is also involved in outreach activities related to natural radioactivity and regularly works with schools for the installation of a radioactive measurement laboratory,within projects funded by MIUR (Ministero dell’Università e della Ricerca i.e. Ministry of University and Research) through the PLS (Progetto Lauree Scientifiche i.e. Scientific Degree Project) and INFN.