Collaboration News

Collaboration Development History

Collaboration Development History

The development of the Indian Institution and Fermilab Collaboration can be traced back to the “Interaction Meeting on Linear Collider and Neutrino Physics”, held in New Delhi in November 2003. The meeting was organized under the auspices of the Indian Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum. A delegation of 19 US physicists from universities and national laboratories attended the meeting.

An Indo-US working group was established by V.S. Ramamurthy and Michael Witherell, to further discuss this possible collaboration. Vinod Sahni and Shekhar Mishra lead the Indian and US side respectively in this working group. The working group met for the first time at Fermilab in August 2004 to discuss a program of collaboration. This was followed by numerous site visits to US and Indian laboratories by the scientists of both countries and participation in accelerator conferences and workshop in both countries.

These discussions on possible future collaborative efforts continued over the years, culminating in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the U.S. Universities & Accelerator Laboratories and Indian Universities & Accelerator Laboratories on January 9, 2006. The signing of the MOU entitled “Collaboration on R&D for Various Accelerator Physics and High Energy Physics Projects”, took place in the Mumbai office of Anil Kakodkar, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, and secretary, Department of Atomic Energy.

In March 2006, Directors of US laboratories, Global Design Effort(GDE), Deutsches Elektronen Synchrotron(DESY), Chair of International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA) and International Linear Collider Steering Committee(ILCSC) visited Indian laboratories and had meeting with secretaries of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Department of Science and Technology(DST).

In October 2006, Robin Staffin, Associate Director for High Energy Physics(HEP), Department Of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, visited India. He was accompanied by Shekhar Mishra and Nigel Lockyer, a physicist at the University of Pennsylvania and newly appointed director of TRIUMF, the trio toured India's particle physics laboratories with a mission: strengthen International Linear Collider(ILC) collaboration between the U.S. and India. After meeting with a number of Indian officials that included Kapil Sibel, the Science Minister of India, Thirumalachari Ramasami, Secretary for the Department of Science and Technology, and Satish Kulkarni, US Embassy Counselor of Science and Technology, their assignment took several steps closer to becoming a mission accomplished.


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By the time of APAC-2007 (Asian Particle Accelerator Conference 2007) which was hosted by RRCAT, Indore in January/February, 2007,it was clear that while superconducting RF (SCRF) technology would be the key element for ILC, 4th generation light sources, production of radioactive ion beams etc, it would also be great value for making high intensity proton accelerators(HIPA) both for basic research and also for energy applications. Fermilab was already working (with DESY) on putting together essential pieces of SCRF technology & teams at BARC (led by Pitamber Singh) & RRCAT (led by Vinod Sahni) were studying designs of high intensity proton accelerator(HIPA) needed for ADS application.

In May/June 2007 a two member team of Pitamber Singh(BARC) and Jishnu Dwivedi(RRCAT) visited Fermilab, to identify specific work elements that could be started in India. Their visit enabled them to zero on to making 1.3 GHz elliptical cavities for acceleration of beta=1 particles. This visit was followed by another one to Fermilab involving 2 young engineers, Avinash Puntambekar and Prashant Khare(RRCAT) and a visit by P.Satyamurthy(BARC) to SLAC, Stanford, in late 2007 & early 2008. There were also reciprocal (short duration) visits by some US scientists.

In September 2007, Fermilab signed an Addendum to MOU for Superconducting Radio Frequency Accelerator Collaboration. Fermilab and Indian laboratories started exchange of physicists and engineering staff. Vinod Sahni visited US to discuss Proton Accelerator collaboration and there were meeting with India Embassy on joint collaboration.

In 2008, SLAC signed an Addendum to MOU for ILC Beam Dump and Radio Frequency (RF) Power collaboration and TRIUMF established an MOU for Radioactive Ion Beam collaboration and jointly develop 1.3 GHz cavity technology. During this time, Fermilab and US attention shifted from ILC to High Intensity Proton Accelerator. Pier Oddone invited India to collaborate on High Intensity Proton Accelerator (Project-X) and received a very positive response from Anil Kakodkar, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, India.

In February 2009, Pier Oddone, Director, Fermilab and Dr. Vinod Sahni, Director, RRCAT, signed a new addendum MOU III to the original MOU establishing an extensive body of new work focusing on the High Intensity Proton Accelerator, to the benefit of both the Fermilab and Indian laboratories program. The signatories were Fermilab and four major DAE laboratories: Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT), Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC), Variable Energy Cyclotron Center (VECC) and Inter University Accelerator Center (IUAC).

In October 2009, Srikumar Banerjee, Director, BARC, Rakesh Bhandari, Director, VECC and Vinod Sahni, Former Director RRCAT, visited Fermilab to discuss strengthening this collaboration further.

In November 2009, Pier Oddone appointed Sanjib Mishra, University of South Carolina and Brajesh Choudhary, University of Delhi as Technical Project Coordinator for the development and execution of the Indian Institutions and Fermilab Collaboration on Neutrino Physics. Later that month Indian Institutions and Fermilab collaboration signed the addendum MOU IV for neutrino collaboration that included MINOS, NOVA, LBNE and MIPP experiments.

Dennis Kovar, Associate Director, US-DOE-HEP visited the collaborating DAE laboratories in January 2010. He was accompanied by Pier Oddone and Shekhar Mishra. This was followed by several meeting between Srikumar Banerjee, Secretary DAE, Ravi Grover, Advisor DAE and Bill Brinkman, Director, US-DOE-OS during their ITER meetings.

In February 2010, Shekhar Mishra made first US government presentation on behalf of DOE at DAE-OYC during the US-India Civil Nuclear Working Group Meeting, chaired by P. Miller, Assistant Secretary, US-DOE-NE.

In April 2010, Brajesh Choudhary was invited by DAE-DST Apex Committee to present the details of this Addendum MOU IV. It was approved by the Apex committee at that meeting, with a recommendation to resubmit the proposal with an increased scope in the program and budget, The collaborating institutions received funding from DST in March 2012 and held its first meeting in April 2012.

In May 2010, Srikumar Banerjee requested US-DOE for a Road Map for the IIFC collaboration. Denial Poneman, Deputy Secretary of Energy, Brinkman, Miller, Banerjee and Meera Shankar, Indian Ambassador met in Washington to discuss this Road Map.  Poneman and Banerjee agreed to develop DOE-DAE agreement. Banerjee suggested that the Indian scientist’s participation in the Fermilab physics program must be part of this collaboration. He charged Shekhar Mishra to work with TIFR in developing such a program.

In October 2010, Indian Institutions and Fermilab Collaboration (IIFC) meeting was held at RRCAT, Indore, India to discuss the collaboration status, plan and its development. In a management meeting between the Fermilab, DAE and IIFC the details of the DOE-DAE agreement, Phases I, II and III deliverables, Fermilab and Indian accelerator programs were discussed. Banerjee gave IIFC action items for Indian XII Plan. Indian DAE outlined its plan to build a SNS and a CW SRF linac for nuclear energy application. The design of the Fermilab Project-X and Indian linac are supposed to be similar.

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In January 2011, Indian Institutions and Fermilab Interaction Meeting on Physics with Project-X was held at TIFR, Mumbai.  About sixty physicists from around India participated in this meeting. This lead to the strengthening of the already existing neutrino collaboration and development of physics collaboration in other areas of particle physics, particle physics with Nuclei, nuclear energy and detector technology.

In March 2011, Shekhar Mishra met with Srikumar Banerjee, S. Kailas, Group Director, BARC, B. Purnia, Head International Studies Division, DAE and P. Singh, BARC to discuss the document that was requested from the IIFC during the Oct 2010 meeting.

In April 2011, P. Gupta, Director, RRCAT, G. P. Srivastava, Group Director, BARC visited Fermilab and attended the Project-X collaboration meeting at SNS.

In May 2011, Shekhar Mishra went to India to work with Indian colleagues on a detailed proposal that would be submitted to the DAE for its consideration for the Mega Science Collaboration under the 12th plan. The final draft of the accelerator proposal was submitted by R. K. Sinha, Director, BARC to DAE. The physics collaboration proposal was submitted by M. Berma, Director, TIFR to DAE. These two documents are under review by DAE.

In July 2011, Anil Kakodkar former Chairman of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) visited Fermilab. This gave him the first hand look at the Fermilab program and the collaboration that he helped grow from the very first day. Almost a week later, R.B. Grover along with nine scientists and management staff of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) India also visited Fermilab.

The Implementing Agreement between the U.S. Department of Energy and the Department of Atomic Energy of India for Cooperation in the Area of Accelerator and Particle Detector Research and Development for Discovery Science was signed on July 19th, in New Delhi, during the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visit by Secretary Banerjee (Indian DAE) and Deputy Secretary Poneman (US-DOE).

In August 2011, Pier Oddone and Young-Kee Kim, Deputy Director, Fermilab, visited India to attend the LP11 held at TIFR, Mumbai. During this visit Pier along with his Indian counterparts signed Addendums V-VIII to the MOU, Supplement I to Addendum MOU III and Project Document for the Cryomodule Test Stand.

While the technical work is in full swing, high level discussion between the two sides continues to develop and strengthen this collaboration.