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EPICS Control System Development for the IsoDAR Neutrino Experiment




LNS: Laboratory for Nuclear Science

Faculty Supervisor:

Janet Conrad

Faculty email:


Apply by:



Daniel Winklehner, winklehn@mit.edu

Project Description

For the discovery-level neutrino physics experiment IsoDAR, we are developing a state-of-the-art compact cyclotron that can produce an order of magnitude higher beam currents than existing similar machines. Three novelties allow us to reach this goal: Accelerating molecular hydrogen ions (H2+) instead of protons; Efficient bunching of the beam using a radiofrequency quadrupole (RFQ) embedded into the cyclotron yoke; Exploiting the so-called vortex-effect. As the first step in this journey, a dedicated H2+ ion source (MIST-1) has been built by the Conrad group at the Laboratory for Nuclear Science that is currently being commissioned at the Plasma Science and Fusion Center. This UROP was designed for a small group of students to work together as a team, implementing an EPICS based control system for the ion source that can later be extended to the RFQ and cyclotron. EPICS is the de facto standard for large particle accelerator systems and very flexible, as well as open source. A newly released open source GUI front end (React Automation Studio) is available since fall 2019. We are looking for additional people to support our existing team of two students (who began in fall 2020). During the project, students will hone their skills in C++, control system electronics, and organization of complex systems. Based on the sandbox that was developed during fall, they will now move the actual devices over from the old control system one by one until a complete control system has been implemented. Guidance by faculty and staff will be available at each step, but the focus is on students working as a team. All work is expected to be done remotely. Physical changes to the test-bed/sandbox system and connection of the devices to be incorporated into the control system will be handled by the group's graduate students and research scientist. Our group is using Zoom and Slack for communication and Dropbox for data exchange. We have Windows and Linux computers set up for remote access that will be used for this project. The team is expected to participate in our regular online group meetings and alternate in reporting about the status of their project.


The candidate should have a strong background in programming in C++. Experience with JavaScript (React) wold be a bonus, but is not required. We are happy to accept first-years who have demonstrated the necessary skills. The ability to work effectively in a team is a plus. A physics background is not necessary.