Measurements and damping of the ISIS head-tail instability


  • R.E. Williamson
  • B. Jones
  • A. Pertica
  • D.W. Posthuma de Boer
  • C.M. Warsop
  • J.P.O. Komppula



ISIS is the pulsed spallation neutron and muon source at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK. Operation centres on a rapid cycling proton synchrotron (RCS) which accelerates 3 × 1013 protons per pulse from 70 MeV to 800 MeV at 50 Hz, delivering a mean beam power of 0.2 MW.

Research and development at ISIS are focused on key aspects of high intensity operation with a view to increasing beam intensity on target, understanding loss mechanisms and identifying viable upgrade routes. At present, the main limitation on beam intensity at ISIS is beam loss associated with the head-tail instability.

This paper presents new measurements of the head-tail instability in both RCS and storage ring modes whilst highlighting the differences between these and theoretical predictions. Macro-particle simulations of the instability are shown in comparison with experimental data. Finally, preliminary tests of an active transverse feedback system to damp the instability are also presented.