Demaco, the Dutch specialist in cryogenic infrastructures, has secured two major orders for its cryogenic expertise and equipment from the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) research centre in Germany.

The €7m contract will see Demaco provide liquid helium (LHe) transfer lines and other associated equipment.

DESY is a national research centre in Germany operating particle accelerators used to investigate the structure of matter. The institute is the main shareholder of the European X-ray Free Electron Laser facility (XFEL).

The purpose of the XFEL project is to produce high intensity coherent X-rays with true laser properties. The wavelength of these rays is in the order of atomic dimension, opening new possibilities in basic science and medical diagnostics, as well as in industrial research and development.

What makes the European XFEL unique in the world are the ultra-short X-ray flashes – 27,000 times per second and with a brilliance that is a billion times higher than that of the best conventional X-ray radiation sources. The X-rays will be produced by free electrons accelerated to energies of around 17.5 GeV – the electrons will be accelerated by 1.3 GHz superconducting 9-cell cavities cooled down to a temperature of 2K (-271ºC).

“Demaco will design and deliver a large part of the cryogenic infrastructure facilitating the cooling down of the accelerator modules, responsible for the design, engineering, manufacturing, testing, installation, documentation and certification”

Eight of these cavities, each of approx. 1.3m length, together with one superconducting magnets assembly, are placed inside a cryostat and create one accelerator module of almost 12m in length. A total of 100 such accelerator modules are required for the linear accelerator (linac) of the European XFEL, arranged in strings of 12 modules that will be installed in a 2km-long underground tunnel.

Under its new contract, Demaco will design and deliver a large part of the cryogenic infrastructure facilitating the cooling down of the accelerator modules, responsible for the design, engineering, manufacturing, testing, installation, documentation and certification. This infrastructure will include LHe transfer lines from the liquefaction facility to the European XFEL accelerator tunnel and LHe transfer lines inside the European XFEL accelerator tunnel.

The cryogenic supply of the linac has to be maintained continuously (24 hours a day/seven days a week) for run periods in the order of two to three years without scheduled breaks shut-down of the cryogenic system at an availability in the order of 99% or better.

The European XFEL will enable a multitude of completely different experiments – ranging from analyses of the structure of biomolecules to films of chemical reactions or investigations into extreme states of matter. Scientists from all over the world will be able to use the facility.