Applied Engineering to High Energy Physics

Description: The course aims to provide students with basic knowledge for understanding particle physics experiments. The engineering analysis needed for the correct execution of these experiments will be studied in detail, with particular reference to the activities of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory research center (Fermilab, Batavia, Illinois, USA), such as the design of mechanical systems, the definition of assembly procedures, design of vibration isolation systems, multi-physics analysis (structural, thermal, electromagnetic). The course consists of a first part of lectures and a second part in which students will be integrated into the working group of a research center in high energy physics and will personally follow the development of the project activity.

Activities on similar topics were recently successfully carried out by Master Thesis students in Mechanical Engineering (e.g. Giorgio Ubaldo Coli, Tommaso Aiazzi), who demonstrated to have the needed skills and background. Thus, the course can be propedeutic for the possible prosecution of the activity in a Master Thesis.

CFU: 6

Final exam: The student must present the activity carried out and the results obtained to the examination commission with the aid of IT tools. The test will be assigned a mark on a scale of thirty.

Selection criteria: To ensure the successful involvement of students within the working group, a selection could be envisaged if the number of interested students is greater than the possibilities for integration in the research center and the number of projects available. In this case, the selection will take place on the basis of the candidates’ curriculum and the outcome of an interview.

How to apply

Students interested in the course should send their CV, along with the list of exams and marks (both for Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees), to, indicating the projects they are preliminarily more interested in (see below). During the first class, the projects will be explained more in detail and, depending on the requests, the best match between candidates and activities will be proposed. All the proposed projects require mechanical design and numerical simulation skills, which correspond to the background of Mechanical Engineering students.

For any questions or doubts, contact

Assigned Projects: 2023-2024

All the projects are related to equipment for high-energy physics experiments. The activities were defined in cooperation with prestigious research centers in this field. In particular, the activities will be coordinated in cooperation with experienced researchers under the supervision of Donato Passarelli, Ph.D., Group leader of SRF System Engineering Group – Fermilab and Prof. Ting Xu, Ph.D., SRF & SCM Department Manager, Facility for Rare Isotope Beams – Michigan State University.


Paolo Neri & Donato Passarelli

Marcello Avoni

Preliminary design of cryomodule to house SRF cavities

A prototype cryomodule containing eight Single Spoke Resonators Type-1 (SSR1) and four superconducting focusing lenses has been successfully designed, assembled and cold tested in the framework of PIP-II project at Fermilab. Based on this existing cryomodule concept, the candidate shall modify the mechanical design to house a different SRF cavity, and perform structural and thermal analysis to validate the proposed changes.

Marco Balestri

QWR adjustable damper design

The Quarter Wave Resonator (QWR) is a component employed in the low beta section of superconducting linear accelerators like FRIB, ATLAS, and ISAC-II. However, one of the challenges associated with QWR is mitigating the impact of microphonics caused by the pendulum motion of the inner conductor. To address this issue, a widely adopted solution is the utilization of passive friction dampers. This study aims to create a model of the existing FRIB damper design and simulate its damping effect using FEA software. Additionally, the aim is to optimize the design and incorporate an adjustable mass feature into the current damper design, allowing customization of the damper.

Leonardo Rossi

Forming analysis of niobium components for SRF cavities

Single Spoke Resonators Type-1 (SSR1) and Type-2 (SSR2) Cavities are employed to accelerate H-beam in the framework of PIP-II project at Fermilab (website). These structures structurally comprise two vessels: an inner niobium and an outer titanium vessel joined together at some strategic locations. This task aims to study the forming process of a specific niobium subcomponent named “endwall” using finite element analysis. A model capable of predicting the final thickness reduction and the effect of the material characteristic (i.e., anisotropy) shall be developed. Also, the two main techniques used for the forming (drawing and metal spinning) shall be compared.

Future Projects

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