Case Study

Applying physics for vital research and scientific discovery

Joint Institute for Nuclear Research

JINR cuts project design time in half, including turnaround on the electromagnetic undulator for the European X-Ray Laser XFEL

Extraordinary reputation, including discovering Element 105

“Today’s advanced nuclear physics is unthinkable without the discoveries made in the former USSR and Russia,” says Alexey Shabunov, who heads the Design Department at the Laboratory of High Energy Physics at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR). Shabunov notes that nearly a half of the USSR’s nuclear physics discoveries were made at the JINR in Dubna, located in the Moscow region. The institute is recognized as an international inter-governmental research organization, with its founders being 18 member countries.

Among extensive scientific discoveries, the physicists in Dubna have helped clarify the quark-based hadron structure, developing the quark hadron model known as “the Dubna quark bag.” The island of stability for superheavy nuclei was discovered here as well as a new method for element synthesis. In the last couple of years, the institute discovered five new chemical elements, including the 118th. As recognition of Dubna’s achievements, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry have named Element 105 in the periodic table “Dubnium.”

While dedicated to research and scientific discovery, the humanitarian mission of JINR is of paramount importance. Shabunov notes, “Jointly investigating nature facilitates mutual understanding and interaction between the peoples of many countries. Recently, the exemplary scientific potential of JINR enabled a successful cooperation with the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN. Both organizations are now working together on the Large Hadronic Collider (LHC) project.

Electromagnetic undulator for special laser designed with Solid Edge

The Laboratory of High Energy Physics (LHE) is among the first organizations in Russia to begin using Siemens’ Solid Edge® software with synchronous technology. LHE, one of eight JINR laboratories, is a research center for a wide range of elementary particle physics and nuclear physics investigations. The laboratory collaborates with CERN, Russian physics research centers, JINR member countries, the United States, Germany, Japan and others.

Recently, the LHE team used Solid Edge with synchronous technology to design an electromagnetic undulator for the European X-Ray Laser Project XFEL .

An electromagnetic undulator (the name originates from the French “onde” for “wave”) is a device that creates oscillating electric, magnetic, or electromagnetic fields for electromagnetic radiation generation by relativistic electrons. An undulator is a series of magnets arranged in a special way; the electromagnetic fields being generated apply a periodic force to charged particles that move within the device. Upon entering the undulator, a moving charged particle starts periodic oscillations and emits undulatory radiation. Undulators are a major component of modern synchrotron radiation sources and free electron lasers.

The undulator includes more than 10,000 unique parts, hundreds of standard components, dozens of assemblies and other array elements. It is about four meters long and consists of 44 powerful electromagnetic coils. The undulator is a part of the European X-Ray Laser Project XFEL (an X-ray-free electron laser), which represents an installation 3.4 kilmeters long mounted in a tunnel near Hamburg, Germany. The laser is able to solve the problems that used to be unsolvable before nanotechnology emerged. For example, protein structure reveals fantastic opportunities for medicine, genetics and biology.

Breakthrough with synchronous technology

Solid Edge was used by both Russian and German teams working on the laser project. “The breakthrough that we made using Solid Edge with synchronous technology has truly shifted our expectations,” says Shabunov. Synchronous technology is the first-ever history-free and feature-based solid modeling software. It combines the speed and flexibility of direct modeling with the precise control of dimension-driven design. Shabunov notes, “The system’s capabilities and the results we have achieved convinced our international partners to opt for Solid Edge.”

According to Design Department staff, Solid Edge offers a short learning curve. The department felt proficient using Solid Edge after only a one-week introductory training course. Staff noted that Solid Edge with synchronous technology easily handles data imported from other systems, which is very important since the various partner research institutes use different CAD systems. In addition, the extensive capabilities of Solid Edge enable working with large assemblies and complex geometry. Using 3D visualization, the Laboratory of High Energy Physics team fully verified the project before the manufacturing began. “Solid Edge plays an important role in helping to allocate more time and resources to innovations or research and discoveries,” says Shabunov.

The Design Department developed the electromagnetic undulator in just 18 months using Solid Edge with synchronous technology. The department combined the parts created by the multi-partner teams using different CAD systems into one model. Solid Edge performed engineering analysis and coil selection, then the model was refined using direct assembly editing. In the course of development, various components were often presented to the client, reviewed and corrected using the built-in visualization tools of Solid Edge.

JINR’s experimental production facility manufactured the undulator from the drawings generated with Solid Edge. The tests were successful. The magnetic field in the coils was measured and mapped and the results matched the calculations. After testing, the unit was assembled and installed on the laser accelerator.

Femap ensures optimized components and assemblies

Solid Edge simplified and accelerated the development of the undulator’s elementary particle channel formation system and the beam collimation system. A set of iris apertures enables remote management of the particle beam’s properties. All the designed devices work in high-vacuum conditions without compromising parameters. High-vacuum operations require special materials. For example, all the gaskets and connectors are equipped with metallic sealing. Before assembly and installation to the channel, the units were vacuum-tested for air-tightness. The undulator’s vacuum chambers underwent ultrasonic cleaning and annealing in a vacuum furnace. To ensure each component’s strength, Siemens’ Femap® software was employed. “We used Femap with great success in optimizing the complex assemblies of the vacuum chambers,” says Shabunov.

Outstanding benefits, including student enlightenment

“Using Solid Edge with synchronous technology has not only strengthened our design and documentation process,” says Shabunov, “it has allowed us to essentially cut design time in half, including on the electromagnetic undulator for the European X-Ray Laser Project XFEL. Thanks to synchronous technology and data import capabilities, our design process is significantly improved and our process is now virtually error-free. Femap also plays a critical role as we are able to quickly and reliably optimize our design efforts.”

Shabunov also sees the value of Solid Edge for the next generation of engineers and their potential for exciting new scientific discoveries. He explains, “JINR is a truly international science organization and as such, we have a continuous influx of talented youth from JINR member states. For example, we regularly have engineering students from various universities engaged in real-world projects at JINR, including the development of the electromagnetic undulator. The built-in learning tools of Solid Edge help the students quickly master the technology, which enables them to focus on advancing their engineering knowledge.”

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