EPICS framework

EPICS is an Accelerator for Mission-Critical Control Systems

Advancements in industrial automation and computing have allowed the widespread use of control system components and frameworks and the adoption of good practices and solutions from research institutions and the industry alike. What was previously cutting-edge in scientific engineering has, in the last years, crossed over into the industrial mainstream of accelerator applications and fusion powerplant prototypes, fuelling an increase in activity.

How to Build the Perfect Fusion Plant: A Technical Architect’s Perspective

Fusion promises to free humankind from the woes of limited and expensive energy production. The route to practical and affordable fusion powerplants has been long and twisty. Probably the shortest route – iter in Latin – to the scientific validation of the fusion concept will be the ITER project in France, arguably the global outlier in the scientific development of fusion technology. When ITER achieves its goal of sustaining a human-made artificial star in its toroidal magnetic field, the end of using uranium or plutonium fuel rods in fission reactors and consuming fossil fuel in coal-burning powerplants will be in sight.
Cosylab_ ITER Simulation Platform

The ITER Simulation Platform Project is a Success!

Fusion power plants take a long time to be designed and built, and the experimental tokamak of ITER is no exception. The latter will be the world’s first nuclear fusion power plant to maintain long-duration fusion while producing net energy.

IPAC'22 in Bangkok: A Breath of Fresh Air

I believe most of us participating at IPAC'22 breathed a sigh of relief as we gathered in Bangkok from the 12th to the 17th of June 2022 at the IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Center.

Upgrading the Timing System at HZDR ELBE

Demanding Big Physics facilities and experiments require increasingly complex yet reliable timing systems. Features such as virtual accelerators, timing super-cycles and event acknowledgements are becoming more common.

A Generic Control-System Stack on MicroTCA for Data Acquisition

Among humankind's most pivotal projects are Big Physics experiments investigating the foundations of fusion, fundamental particles, origins of the Universe, the structure of materials, biochemical reactions, and much more. On the other hand, MicroTCA (MTCA) is an open-standard architecture for switched fabric computer systems. Its .4 standard module (MicroTCA.4) increases PCB-space and modularity and is geared towards use in large-scale scientific facilities. With its I/O backplane architecture, MicroTCA is becoming one of the de-facto COTS (commercial off-the-shelf systems) standards in Big Physics, having been already wholly accepted by the high-energy physics community.

LabVIEW and Accelerator Control Systems

Every particle accelerator must have a commanding system that controls and monitors hundreds of various devices and subsystems with sub-microsecond synchronisation. Good architecture and design is the key to building modular, scalable, maintainable, and testable software. This is especially true for large systems such as control systems for accelerators which require high uptime, reliability and scalability for long term operation and future upgrades. Therefore, the accelerator control system (ACS) is an extensive and complex piece of software that must supervise the correct and safe performance of all devices integrated into the machine. The system has to guarantee dependability, stability and performance. It must also be extensively modular and configurable to meet new current and especially future demands.

A Fast Integration of PLCs and EPICS

Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) have been widely used in industrial control systems for many years now, such as aviation, automotive, processing, production assembly-line, manufacturing, energy and oil-processing industry. Engineers find PLCs simple to program and capable of controlling a multitude of automatic processes. PLCs contain microcontroller units (MCUs) whose capabilities have increased steadily with time, making PLCs much more capable than a decade ago and ready to tackle new challenges in system automation.
Cosylab_IPAC 21

IPAC 2021: Light sources and the rest

Two years ago, it was a completely different experience with Big Physics events! People who were attending such events from Cosylab were often in the air, high above the oceans separating the world's continents. A good example is the 2019 IPAC event hosted in Melbourne, which Cosylab visited in person. Of course, due to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, IPAC 2021 was a wholly virtual event. The latter was organised from the 24th to the 28th of May 2021 by the Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM), located in Campinas. And in the opinion of my colleagues and my own, the conference was most likely the best possible within the constraints of its virtual format.
Cosylab Cooler Synchrotron

A case of Improved Beam Control at COSY Jülich

The COSY (Cooler Synchrotron) is a German particle accelerator and storage ring operated by the Institute of Nuclear Physics (IKP) at Forschungszentrum Jülich that employs beam cooling. The latter helps particles follow more closely their predetermined path. COSY is one of the only accelerators in the medium energy range that uses both stochastic and electron cooling. A few years ago, the need arose to improve the beam control at the Jülich centre, and Cosylab was invited to participate in the project.