Adriatic stop for the I.FAST project

Held in Trieste, Italy, the second annual meeting of the I.FAST project hosted passionate discussion about the progress in machine learning and in superconducting materials.


Attendants to the Annual Meeting had the opportunity to visit the Elettra Sincrotrone, in Trieste, and the facilities of Kyma Undulators, located in neighbouring Slovenia. (Credit: Elettra)

At the end of April, the European accelerator community gathered in Trieste, on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, to attend to the second annual meeting of the I.FAST project. Funded under the Horizon Europe programme, I.FAST aims to enhance innovation in the design of future particle accelerators. With 48 partners from 15 countries via coordination by CERN, the project brings together the main European players in the field to facilitate together the development of breakthrough technologies common to multiple accelerator platforms.

Over four days, the conference explored many topics, from sustainable particle accelerators to innovative superconducting magnets, from progress in light sources to developments in additive manufacturing. It was also an opportune moment to present the eight projects selected under the I.FAST Internal Innovation Fund, aimed at stimulating innovation in accelerator technologies.

Although cooled at freezing conditions, high-temperature superconducting (HTS) materials were a hot topic. A dedicated workshop welcomed talks from a dozen representatives from industry and academia to examine how to strengthen the cooperation on HTS in Europe and envision initiatives that could make such collaboration most successful, with beneficial effects for our community and for society at large.

Another hot topic was about the link between artificial intelligence and accelerators. A multidisciplinary workshop generated a vivid debate about the level of trust the community is able to put in machine learning tools when designing, operating and maintaining accelerators.

Finally, the event hosted as well highlight talks about the link between accelerators and society: the recent progress in hadrontherapy, the use of synchrotron light for cultural heritage, innovation in laser accelerators for dark matter study and the environmental impact of using rare earth materials for magnets.

Just a few weeks later, still in Italy, the I.FAST project had the the opportunity to present its achievement to the wider particle accelerator community at International Particle Accelerator Conference (IPAC'23). Several project members presented:

  • Antoine, Claire (CEA), “R&D in super-conducting RF: thin film capabilities as a game changer for future sustainability”. Link
  • Thaury, Cedric (LOA), “Laser-plasma acceleration beyond the diffraction and dephasing limits”. Link
  • Burrows, Philip (John Adams Institute), “Challenging students into developing accelerator-based innovations to protect the environment”. Link