Feature - Calming the wakefield
A snapshot of a simulation of the wakefield generated by a particle bunch moving through a series of ILC cavities, from three different perspectives. The colors represent the magnitude of the fields, with warmer colors representing the strongest fields.
For the International Linear Collider to run at maximum performance, each of its 27,000 cavities must be designed as precisely as possible.
It is very time consuming and costly, however, to produce physical prototypes, so researchers at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory decided to use a supercomputer to create and test virtual prototypes of the cavities.
The ILC, which is in its design phase, will use superconducting cavities to accelerate electrons and their antimatter partners, positrons, to nearly the speed of light before colliding them. By studying these collisions, researchers will be able to probe more deeply into the subatomic world.
As particle bunches travel through the accelerator cavities,