Cristoforo Benvenuti

Born in Milan in 1940, Dr. Cristoforo Benvenuti gratuated in Physics in 1963 at Universita di Milano, Italy, with a thesis in the field of elementary particles.

After a fellowship at the “Joint Reasearch Center” in Ispra, Italy, he enrolled in CERN in 1966 to work in the field of Vacuum technology. He has been responsible for various projects in several fields among which cryogenic pumping condensation, pressure measurements in UHV and XHV conditions and development of getter pumps.

During the ‘70s, thanks to his deep scientific knowledge and to the vast experience acquired while working for CERN, Dr Benvenuti conceived the idea of this advanced flat solar collector while on a short trip on the Italian island of Vulcano. Nonetheless, he had to wait until after the oil crisis of 1975 in order to receive the authorization by the CERN Directory to manufacture a small number of prototypes, which were installed on the roof of a CERN building and which were used to provide a proof of their reliability and allowed the deveolpment of the current solar collectors manufactured by SRB Energy.


Solar field SRB Energy in Geneva airport

Vacuum chamber of LHC project (“Large Hadron Collider”)

Following the CERN approval of the “Large Electron Positron Collider (LEP)” project, Cristoforo proposed for it and implemented a pumping system based on non-evaporable getters. Since then, this has been a solution vastly applied in all particle accelerators around the world. At the same time, he was responsible for the innovative development of the RF Superconductive Cavities made in Niobium coated copper, adopted to increase the accelerator energy up to 100GeV during the second phase of this project. His contributions to the LEP project were recognized by the European Physics Society that assigned him in 1998 the “European Prize for Achievement and Innovation in the Accelerator Field”.
After the approval of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) project in 1990, he proposed and developed a new pumping technique which relies on non-evaporable getter thin films sputter-coated on the inner walls of a vacuum chamber. This technique has been protected by patents and was adopted for the room temperature long straight sections of this machine.

Mainly for this invention, he received in 2002 the Gaede-Langmuir Award, the most prestigious prize of the American Vacuum Society. The patents were licensed by CERN to various Industries and Institutes, and the getter coatings are now adopted for accelerators worldwide.

Cristoforo Benvenuti ended his CERN career at the highest grade of the Organisation.

Cristoforo partecipated in founding a private company to commercialize the solar thermal collector developped 30 years before. At the moment, a manufacturing unit exists for the fabrication of these collectors since 2009.