The Programme “Matter and Technologies”

The research field “Matter” investigates fundamental questions in natural science as the origin and nature of matter. The scientists work with large-scale research infrastructures such as accelerators, radiation sources and detectors. The programme “Matter and Technologies” addresses the technological challenges and needs of the field.

What is the goal?

The technologies used in accelerators and detectors are becoming increasingly more complex and their development cycles longer. The Helmholtz Association has established a new programme, “Matter and Technologies”, to stress the importance and central role technologies play for the field and beyond. This step should ensure that the Helmholtz Association stays in the forefront of the technological developments needed for future large scale research facilities, in particular, accelerators, and detectors. These activities, which in the past were distributed over several programmes, should increase the overall visibility of technology developments in “Matter”. This should also contribute to attract the best people in the field to work for Helmholtz.

What is Helmholtz doing to achieve this goal?

The Helmholtz Association has introduced a new programme, “Matter and Technologies”, that combines developments of both accelerators and detectors into one programme. This makes it possible to strategically invest into promising areas, to realise synergies, and to develop an overall coherent programme. A strong element of this is the close ties between the partners, and the strong ties to the other programmes in matter and beyond. Altogether the combination of this new programme with the other two programmes in matter should ensure that the Helmholtz Association continues to hold a worldwide leadership position in this research.

Examples from research
The programme is divided into two topics: research on accelerator technology (Accelerator Research and Development, ARD) and research on detector technologies (Detector Technologies and Systems, DTS). Networking between these two topics, as well as between the centres and universities, is a central priority of the programme. Conferences, workshops, joint projects and joint use of scientific infrastructures contribute to this effort.

1. Accelerator technologies

Development of technologies and new concepts for accelerators has a long tradition in the Helmholtz Association. Germany enjoys a leadership position in the sector of superconducting accelerator technology and hadron beams, which are to be expanded through selected projects. A completely new field has moved into the spotlight in recent years – the development of plasma-accelerators. These accelerators take advantage of the fact that considerably higher fields are available in plasmas when compared to conventional accelerators, i.e. to traditional cavity resonators operated by radio-frequency transmitters. If it is possible to use these plasma fields successfully, much more compact and much more efficient accelerators could be built that would obviously be quite attractive for many sectors in research and application.

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