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Mechanical Design

The mechanical design is responsible for the mechanical configuration and design drawings of all NSLS, and SDL experimental systems. The designers are generally directed by a project engineer who has overall responsibility for a particular engineering project within the Mechanical Section. Engineering drawings that are produced by the designers are usually fabricated, assembled, aligned, and installed by the Mechanical Technician group.

The mechanical design group provides the crucial link between concept and hardware, giving life and breath to the complex devices that make up the National Synchrotron Light source often working with a minimal set of specifications, the members of the design groups, using state-of-the-art 2D and 3D CAD systems, and utilizing their collective years of experience in accelerator component design, create outline, detail and assembly drawings to provide a complete and accurate technical description of all the components of the NSLS accelerator, as well as support equipment, tools and infrastructure.

vacuum chamber

Dipole vacuum chamber rendered in 3D Studio Max. Dipole vacuum chambers are used for bending the radiation beam

rf cavity

RF Cavity rendered in 3ds Max. RF cavities add energy to the beam using radio waves

The technical documentation provided by the design groups is the language in which technology is communicated, whether it is 2D and 3D renderings for presentations, layout and outline drawings for conceptual studies or detail and assembly drawings for component construction. As a whole, these documents communicate fully the information required to translate the most esoteric and complicated scientific and engineering concepts, calculations, and data into the drawings, which are the vocabulary of the machinist and technician. It is the mission of the Mechanical Design group to assure that this communication is accomplished fully, so that the best of ideas become reality at the NSLS.

To accomplish this mission, the Mechanical Designer must have a working knowledge of all relevent technical disciplines with the NSLS, from relativistic particle physics to the mechanics of screw fasteners. The group must also keep abreast of all current capabilities for fabrication and assembly processes, as well as suppliers of materials and components.


Rendered in X-13A End-station assembly rendered in Autodesk's Inventor Professional 10.0



The design process is often a collaborative effort between the design groups, scientists, engineers and technicians, often requiring many iterations and tradeoff studies to find the right balance of performance, reliability, maintainability, cost and timing. Taking the concepts provided by the scientists, working closely with the engineers and technicians to iteratively analyze and design the physical requirements.

RF Mechanical & Cryogenics

RF cavities are used to replenish energy lost as synchrotron radiation. These RF Cavities are some of the most complex components of the NSLS accelerators, and require precision machining. They must have excellent mechanical and electrical properties, and a very sensitive/fast responding cooling system.

RF Ring

Inside the ring

RF Ring

RF Cavities inside the ring

The X17 cryogenic system is a complex system that includes a refrigerator to liquefy compressed helium gas after it has been purified by a gas purification system. A good control system and several safety devices, such as oxygen monitors, keep the cryogenic system operational and safe around the clock, without unscheduled interruptions.

Compressor System

Liquid-helium compressor unit

Compressor System

Liquid-helium compressor system