The proposed Facility for Low-energy Antiproton and Heavy-Ion Research combines low energy antiproton beams and stable and instable highly-charged ions for atomic, nuclear and particle physics research. The key features of the facility will be the cooled, highly intense beams of antiprotons and bare and few-electron heavy ions. The combination of several decelerators – the Low-energy Storage Ring LSR, the Ultra-low energy Storage Ring USR, and the trap facility HITRAP – and different ion/antiproton traps will provide beams of excellent emittance covering energies from 100 MeV/u down to few eV. Over 15 different experiments have been proposed to be located at FLAIR and use the provided beams. Details about the scientific goal and technical aspects of these experiments are presented in the FLAIR Technical Proposal. E. Widmann was chairman of the steering committee of FLAIR from the beginning. He was spokesperson from 2004-2012 and co-spokesperson from 2012-2015.
In 2005 the STI committee decided to include FLAIR into the core program of FAIR and the FLAIR building into the civil construction budget. The remainder of the facility, the storage rings, beam lines and experiments, are expected to be funded by the collaboration. In 2008 a formal evaluation of two possible solutions for the LSR rings was performed and it was decided to choose the existing CRYRING at the Manne Siegbahn Laboratory, Stockholm, and was consecutively modified for its use at FLAIR by MSL and provided by Sweden as an in-kind contribution to FAIR. HITRAP is currently being commissioned for operation with highly charged ions at GSI. The USR is a very challenging new development as no electrostatic ring with variable energy has ever been built. It is developed by Dr. Carsten Welsch from the Cockcroft Institute in UK.
In 2009 it was decided that only a part of FAIR would be constructed in the first phase, called the modularised Start Versions MSV. FLAIR together with the NERS storage ring needed for deceleration of antiprotons are not in the MSV, but in 2013 CRYRING was moved from the Manne Siegbahn Laboratory of Stockholm University to GSI in 2012 and installation at the ESR storage ring has in the mean time started. CRYRING in connection with the ESR offers exciting new physics opportunities particularly in the realm of atomic physics and nuclear physics as it was already anticipated by the physics program with heavy ions for the FLAIR facility at FAIR. Moreover, CRYRING at the ESR can play a very valuable role as a test bench for accelerator relevant developments for FAIR and for R&D related to experimental setups.
CRYRING@ESR has also a strong relevance for the physics with low-energy antiprotons and with beams of rare isotopes. For both, this project is very valuable assuming that a transfer beam line would become possible, connecting the FAIR facilities with the ESR. In this way we could realize rapidly at FAIR the experiments with slow anti-protons as well as with slow rare isotopes. This project would be very stimulating for the whole antiproton community of FLAIR as well as for colleagues interested in nuclear and hadron physics at FLAIR.