The original CERN Gamma Irradiation Facility (GIF) in building 190 had been intensively used to simultaneously expose detectors to the photons from a 137Cesium source and high energy particles from the X5 beam line in SPS West Area. From 2004 onwards, only the 137Cesium (≈ 0.5 TBq) source was available for irradiation. In September 2014 the decommissioning of the facility started and the old Cs source was removed in early December 2014.
The high-luminosity LHC (HL-LHC) upgrade is setting a new challenge for particle detector technologies. The increase in luminosity will produce a higher particle background with respect to present conditions. Performance and stability of detectors at LHC and future upgrade systems will remain the subject of extensive studies.
To meet these challenges, a joint project between the EN and the PH departments was started to build a new Gamma Irradiation Facility. Located at the H4 beam line in EHN1, the GIF++ is a unique place where high energy charged particle beams (mainly muon beam with momentum up to 100 GeV/c) are combined with a 14 TBq 137Cesium source. The higher source activity produces a background gamma field which is a factor 30 more intense than that at original GIF, allowing to accumulate doses equivalent to HL-LHC experimental conditions in a reasonable time.
In collaboration with the EN department, the layout of the facility has been significantly improved. Two large radiation fields (±37 degdrees horizontally and vertically) with individual radiation attenuation systems allow the simultaneously testing of a wide range of small detector prototypes, electronic components, radiation monitors and dosimeter under a strong photon flux as well as the characterization and understanding of the long-term behavior of large particle detectors. The facility is equipped with a dedicated control system, recording all relevant parameters from beam- & irradiator status to environmental conditions and gas supply. Several user infrastructures proposed in the framework of the WP8-AIDA project have been included in the design of the facility, including a common Detector Control System (DCS), radiation monitoring (RADMONs), as well as beam- and cosmic-trigger chambers.
The GIF ++ was commissioned in December 2014 and started it's user operation in spring 2015. For further details please visit the GIF++ Operation Page.