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While attending the International Particle Accelerator Conference in Melbourne, Australia, in May 2019, Daniel Bafia took first prize in a poster contest for his research at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

Daniel had started his research at Fermilab a little over a year prior, and IPAC was the first big conference he ever attended with more than 1,000 people. He says he never thought he would win the poster competition, which features researchers from around the world.

"After the disbelief faded, I had a hard time sitting still in my seat from excitement," Daniels says.

The research centered on the performance of the superconducting radio-frequency (SRF) cavities, which give the particles a kick as they pass through. Through research, he discovered a way to infuse the inner surface of the cavities with nitrogen in a process called nitrogen doping surface treatment. The result increased the boost of the particles as they pass through the SRF cavity, generating more efficient beamlines.

This surface treatment allows researchers to increase the beams to higher energies at shorter distances.

"My ultimate goal is to understand what causes this very high performance of cavities subject to the nitrogen doping treatment," he says.

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