According to the HiRadMat mandates the timeline of an experiment can be divided into 18 milestones. The first 11 milestones range from first discussions with the HiRadMat Management till the Beam Time of the experiment. The last 6 milestones include all activities after the Beam Time.
Experiment Timeline (until Beam Time)
T1 - Discussion with HiRadMat Management
T2 - Beam Time Request submission to HiRadMad Management
T3 - Scientific Board
Once the proposal is accepted it will be reviewed within the HiRadMat Scientific Board and beamtime will be granted based on the merit of the proposed experiment.
T4 - Collaboration with design, metrology, survey and support teams
After a successful beam time request the technical compatibility of your experiment design within the constraints of HiRadMat (size and weight of the experimental chamber) will be checked by the HiRadMat team. CERN's metrology and survey teams assess the design with regards to the experiments requirements in alignment precision. If required, additional support (upon agreement) can be provided by CERN's Beam Instrumentation (BE-BI), Handling Engineering (EN-HE), Experimental Areas (EN-EA), Mechanicals and Materials Engineering (EN-MME) and Survey, Mechatronics and Measurements (EN-SMM) groups.
T5 - Safety File and Pulse List drafted
An initial Safety File draft should address all safety and technical aspect of the experiments and include:
- Experiment aims & goals
- Technical description (design, support systems, diagnostics, etc.)
- Preparation (timeframes, expectations)
- Installation details (e.g. extras equipment, monitoring devices, connections etc.)
- Operational aspects (beam alignment protocol, beam parameters)
- Post irradiation phase (plans after experiment)
- Removal timeframes and disposal (if relevant)
- Hazard inventory (including radioactive isotope information, radiation risks, etc.)
- Risks & mitigations.
The Pulse List should include all pulses that are planned to be extracted to the experiment.
T6 - Technical Board
The Technical Board will review the Safety File regarding the safety and technical aspects of the experiment in regards to:
- Design & production (integration models, timelines for production/builds etc.)
- Survey & alignment
- Installation (including details on connections, data acquisition systems etc.)
- Radiological aspects (hazards/risks/mitigations)
- Full support required (beam monitoring, mechanical integration, software)
- Operation & beam time planning
- Beam Parameters
- Post-beam information (cool-down time estimates (FLUKA, WDP), transferral, PIE).
T7 - Review and Approval of Safety File
After the review by the Technical Board the safety file must be updated to address all comments made by the Technical Board.
T8 - Beam Time scheduled
The schedule is linked to CERN's Injector Accelerator Schedule which dedicates a number of runs (weeks) for HiRadMat during which up to 10 experiments. with an integrated proton budget of ~2 · 1016 protons, can be performed per year. Due to cool-down and installation constraints a maximum of 2 experiments can be performed per month. Until the start of the LHC Schedule the Injector Accelerator Schedule is flexible.
T9 - Experiment ready for metrology and survey
Metrology of the experiment can be performed at CERN's metrology lab (upon agreement). Afterwards the experiment is mounted on on experimental table on the mock-up test stand within the HiRadMat surface lab of building 876. During this time the electrical connections and support systems can be tested from within the HiRadMat control room to simulate the situation in the tunnel. With the metrology results survey will perform the final alignment of the experiment in the HiRadMat surface lab. The necessary information for this alignment should be detailed in the Safety File to ensure efficient preparation.
T10 - Installation
The experiment will be transported from the surface lab down to the HiRadMat target area. During installation HiRadMat, the Transport Service, Radiation Protection and Support Teams are all involved in the installation of the experiment and all necessary equipment within the tunnel. But, time spent in the underground tunnels should as short as possible to minimize the radioactive dose received by all involved.
T11 - Beam Time
The beam time usually spreads across a full week (independent of the foreseen actual irradiation time). Together with the SPS Operators (BE-OP), HiRadMat, the Beam Instrumentation Group (BE-BI) and the support teams (EN-EA, EN-MME, EN-SMM) pulses are extracted towards the experiment. Due to priority of the LHC for a fill, experiment teams must be as flexible as possible to take beam whenever available. Shifts are recommended.
Experiment Timeline (post Beam Time)
T12 - Post-beam cool down time
After beam time an experiment has must wait approximately 1-4 weeks before being moved to the cool down area of HiRadMat. The dose rate is monitored regularly by RP and once the dose rate levels are low enough for safe handling the experiment can be disconnected from its table and moved to the cool down area.
T13 - Experiment cool down time
As specified in the safety file and discussed during the Technical Board each experiment has to wait a minimum time for dose rate levels to decay to a level that ensures safe removal of the experiment from the HiRadMat area. The time is agreed with RP based on dose estimates performed by FLUKA and Working Dose Planning. Usually, the preferred waiting time is at least 6 months.
T14 - Removal from HiRadMat
The experiments are removed from the HiRadMat tunnel and subsequently removed from the HiRadMat table (the exact location depends on the experiments activity after the cool down time). The entire experiment is then shipped to a requested location (either CERN or elsewhere). Proper documentation should be prepared in advance for the handling of an experiment's radioactive specimens. It should be stressed that experimental chambers are not opened at the HiRadMat facility and external experiments shall be shipped back to the home institution.
T15 - Post-irradiation Examination (PIE)
In accordance with the measures detailed in the Safety File PIE can be performed on the experiment. At this stage full responsibility of the experiment falls back to the user.
T16 - Publications
The HiRadMat Scientific Board strongly encourages the publication of results obtained during a HiRadMat experiment. HiRadMat should be acknowledged together with any support teams.
T17 - Follow-up/new experiments
Feedback to HiRadMat is appreciated and any plans regarding new experiments shall be discussed with the HiRadMat Management.