Accelerator systems and instrumentation for the NuMI neutrino beam
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The Neutrinos at the Main Injector (NuMI) neutrino beam facility began operating at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in 2005. NuMI produces an intense, muon-neutrino beam to a number of experiments. Foremost of these experiments is MINOS – the Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search – that uses two neutrino detectors in the beam, one at Fermilab and one in northern Minnesota, to investigate the phenomenon of neutrino oscillations. NuMI is a conventional, horn-focused neutrino beam. It is designed to accept a 400 kW, 120 GeV proton beam from the Fermilab Main Injector accelerator. The proton beam is steered onto a target, producing a secondary beam of mesons which are focused into a long evacuated volume where they decay to muons and neutrinos. Pulsed toroidal magnets (horns) focus an adjustable meson momentum range. Design of the beamline and its components is challenged by the 400 kW average proton beam power. To achieve such high proton power, the Fermilab Main Injector (MI) must store and accelerate ∼ 4×1013 protons per acceleration cycle. This requires the MI to be loaded with 6 or more batches of protons from the 8 GeV Booster accelerator. Such multiple-batch injection involves a synchronization of the two machines not previously required by the Fermilab accelerators. In this dissertation, we investigate timing errors that can arise between the two accelerators, and a feedback system which enables multiple Booster transfers into the Main Injector without significant loss of beam. Using this method of synchronous transfer, the Main Injector has delivered as many as 3×1013 protons per pulse to the NuMI beam. The instrumentation to asses the quality of the neutrino beam includes arrays of radiation-tolerant ionization chambers downstream of the decay volume. These arrays detect the remnant hadrons and tertiary muons produced with the neutrinos. This thesis discusses measurements using the arrays, including diagnostics of potential beam errors and initial alignment of the beamline elements. In addition, we describe theoretical calculations and experimental tests which demonstrate that the ionization chambers can withstand the intense particle fluxes in the beamline without signal loss due to space-charge build up in the detectors.