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What is ASTA?

 
ASTA (Accelerator Structure Test Area) has a very powerful and flexible S- and X-band RF infrastructure providing a facility for photocathode and radio-frequency (RF) structure R&D ....
 
The Accelerator Structure Test Area (ASTA) serves dual purpose as a test and commissioning area for S-band guns and for high gradient X-band RF structure development and long term testing. Over the past year the LCLS spare gun was commissioned and procedures for cathode changes and cathode laser cleaning were developed. This program is ongoing. Together with Stanford University SLAC tested CsBr photocathodes, which can produce much higher currents. First results were obtained and are currently analyzed. A continuation of this program is expected.
The HEP Novel RF program (the former High Gradient Collaboration) is testing various X-band RF components for their suitability in future high gradient accelerating systems. This ongoing program is very prolific and tests about one to two different structures per month.
In addition SLAC is testing the breakdown rate of CERN CLIC acceleration structures as part of the Work for Others Program. Currently one structure is on the test stand for a 2000h operation cycle. We expect this program to continue for the foreseeable future.
Recently the two X-band test stands’ control and safety systems were upgraded to allow unmanned operation, thus increasing the operational efficiency of the facility. This upgrade fell short of the low level RF control system which could benefit from some targeted investments to increase the diagnostics capabilities and operational efficiency. Previous infrastructure upgrades focused solely on X-band. The increasing demand for S-band gun operations, LCLS, CsBr program and potentially commissioning the LCLS-II gun for FACET-II could be fostered by similar safety and operational investments into the aging infrastructure.

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SLAC SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Menlo Park, CA
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