Legnaro National Laboratories (LNL)

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Legnaro National Laboratories (LNL) is one of the four laboratories of the Italian Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN). Its mission is to perform basic research in nuclear physics and nuclear astrophysics, together with applications of nuclear technologies.

LNL grew up between the 60s and the 80s around three electrostatic accelerators with complementary properties:

  • CN: a vertical 7 MV “Van de Graaff” electrostatic device, housed in a tower 7m high. CN is able to accelerate ion beams such as protons, deuterium and helium which are used for fundamental and applied nuclear physics studies.
  • AN2000: a smaller 2 MV electrostatic accelerator that is installed in a single experimental room. The smaller output energy promotes research of nuclear reaction events with the first layers of target materials.
  • Tandem: LNL’s largest “Van de Graaff” electrostatic device, working at > 14.5 MV, has been used as standalone linear accelerator and, after a major upgrade to the facility, as injector for a superconducting linear accelerator called ALPI.

The ALPI linac became operational at LNL in the early 90s, and in 2004 the PIAVE accelerator, based on a superconducting RFQ (Radio Frequency Quadrupole) configuration, joined Tandem as ALPI injector.

The SPES project was designed at LNL during the last decade as a new facility to provide the acceleration of so-called exotic beams. An industrial cyclotron will accelerate protons onto a Uranium Carbide (UCX) target to start proton-induced fission reactions. The impact of such exotic beams on selected targets will create conditions similar to those available in the earliest stages of universe, when the heaviest elements agglomeration occurred in a process called “nucleosynthesis”: a branch of nuclear research still largely unexplored.