A collaboration meeting of the AWAKE project took place at CERN on 5 – 7 October 2022. These meetings bring together twice a year the international team of researchers working on different aspects of the experiment.
After a successful first run, from 2016 to 2018, the AWAKE team demonstrated seeded self-modulation of proton bunches and electron acceleration over a 10 meter long plasma cell, from 20 MeV to 2 GeV, that is, a 200 MV/m gradient.
Currently AWAKE is going through its second run, which started in 2021. The goal of AWAKE Run 2 is to achieve a gradient of 1 GV/m while preserving the electron beam emittance, thus demonstrating that AWAKE beams can be used for physics applications.
During the collaboration meeting it was announced that the timeline of AWAKE had been extended to 2030, giving enough time for the collaboration to reach a series of milestones: seeding of the proton bunch modulation with an electron bunch (Run 2a); implementation of a density step in the plasma cell to sustain high gradients (Run 2b); electron acceleration with emittance preservation (Run 2c); and demonstration of scalable plasma cell technologies (Run 2d).
The participants in the meeting presented some of the results obtained so far in the current project phase (Run 2a) as well as preparations for Run 2b, and plans for Runs 2c and 2d.
AWAKE-UK was represented by Vittorio Bencini, from Oxford University who gave an update on the 18 MeV electron line for Run 2ab and Run 2c. Collette Pakuza, also from Oxford, talked about the status of the Cherenkov Diffraction Radiation (ChDR) Beam Position Monitor tests at the CLEAR facility. Following on beam diagnostics, Can Davut from the University of Manchester presented the status of the ChDR bunch length monitor, also tested at CLEAR, and Catherine Swain from the University of Liverpool gave an overview of the beam diagnostics for Run 2c being developed at the Cockcroft Institute.
During the meeting, the Collaboration Board of AWAKE accepted the inclusion of IRFU – Division of Accelerators, Cryogenics and Magnetism / CNRS – Laboratory of Physics of Gas and Plasmas, as Associate Member. The IRFU-DACM / CNRS-LPGP group is designing a Laser Wakefield Accelerator that could be used as an electron source for injection into the acceleration stage of AWAKE.
The next collaboration meeting of AWAKE will take place in April 2023 in Uppsala, Sweden.