LAUNCH OF THE NUCLOTRON-BASED ION COLLIDER FACILITY (NICA)
The Booster synchrotron, or the Booster, is a unique superconducting accelerator that has no analogues in the world, which is created in the frames of the NICA mega-science project of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR). Super modern opportunities of using the beams of this facility will allow high-tech curing of complicated cancer tumors (beam therapy of cancer diseases), solving the issues of medical physiology during long space expeditions. Such technologies will help process nuclear waste from nuclear power plants, test microelectronics for space satellites, and will be helpful in the fields of ecology and many other realms.
The NICA accelerating complex under construction, JINR’s flagship project being implemented in the territory of the Russian Federation in the framework of the national project “Nauka”. The Joint Institute for Nuclear Research is an international intergovernmental organization established through the Convention signed on 26 March 1956 by eleven founding States and registered with the United Nations on 1 February 1957. JINR is situated in Dubna city, the Moscow Region, the Russian Federation. JINR a world-famous scientific center that is a unique example of integration of fundamental theoretical and experimental research with development and application of the cutting-edge technology and university education. The Institute possesses a mighty basis: traditions of scientific schools acknowledged worldwide; basic facilities with unique capacity to solve challenging tasks in various fields of modern physics; the status of an international intergovernmental organization. The rating of JINR in the world scientific community is very high. For more than 60 years JINR has accomplished a wide range of research and trained scientific staff of the highest quality for the Member States. Among them are presidents of the national Academies of Sciences, leaders of large nuclear institutes and universities in many JINR Member States. According to its Charter, the Institute exercises its activities on the principles of openness to all interested states for their participation and equal mutually beneficial cooperation.
The booster, launched in November 2020, is a superconducting accelerator, the first cascade of the NICA complex (Nuclotron-based Ion Collider Faсility), in fact, the first Russian mega-science project since the middle of the XX century. The construction in Dubna started in 2016.
It is a collider of protons and heavy ions. It can produce a special state of matter similar to that of the neutron stars nuclei. Such facilities are called giant microscopes, as they allow to penetrate deeper into matter and understand the structure of it. They are also called time telescopes, because the higher the energy in the experiment, the closer we get to the beginning of the Universe. To understand what was going on there, we need to concentrate maximum energy in the smallest unit of volume. Scientists hope that the NICA accelerator complex will make it possible to experimentally reconstruct what was just after the Big Bang, “scroll the film back” and recreate the conditions when the mysterious quarks and gluons were floating freely in the bubbling primordial “soup”.
Brand new energy-efficient technologies, which are currently unavailable to any scientific center in the world, ensure its capabilities.
The entire collider complex is expected to be completed by 2022, but experiments are already underway at the facility. The main task of the complex is to study high-energy physics and other areas, including studying the structure of the Universe immediately after the Big Bang, which occurred about 13 billion years ago.
The Booster is placed in the yoke of the Synchrophasotron and will accelerate heavy-ion beams and then transmit them to the Nuclotron, which will direct the beams into the NICA ring. They will collide in it at near-light speeds. The launch of the Booster of the NICA complex provides scientists with access to the most modern technologies. Super modern opportunities of using the beams of this facility will allow high-tech curing of complicated cancer tumors (beam therapy of cancer diseases), solving the issues of medical physiology during long space expeditions. Such technologies will help process nuclear waste from nuclear power plants, test microelectronics for space satellites, and will be helpful in the fields of ecology and many other realms. Scientists hope to use the NICA complex to understand the processes that took place in the early stages of the formation of the Universe and in the bowels of neutron stars. The compression force of matter in NICA will be the same as if we compressed the Sun to the size of Moscow.
The booster is the penultimate major element of the accelerator complex; after its launch, only the large collider ring will remain to be launched. The NICA complex in Dubna will be followed by the Siberian Circular Photon Source (SKIF) megaproject in Novosibirsk and a number of facilities within the framework of the Federal Scientific and Technical Program for the Development of Synchrotron and Neutron Research.
Without such experimental basis, the development of modern science is simply impossible. Because of it, Russia is becoming one of the leaders in fundamental research in nuclear physics.
The collider is a scientific project that has no analogues in the world. The creation and launch of the accelerator would not be possible without strong fundamental science. In addition to Russian scientists, leading physicists from 32 countries worked on the project.