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A particle accelerator is a machine that uses
electromagnetic field An electromagnetic field (also EM field or EMF) is a classical (i.e. non-quantum) field Field may refer to: Expanses of open ground * Field (agriculture), an area of land used for agricultural purposes * Airfield, an aerodrome that lacks the in ...
s to propel charged
particle In the Outline of physical science, physical sciences, a particle (or corpuscule in older texts) is a small wikt:local, localized physical body, object to which can be ascribed several physical property, physical or chemical property, chemical p ...

particle
s to very high speeds and energies, and to contain them in well-defined beams. Large accelerators are used for fundamental research in
particle physics Particle physics (also known as high energy physics) is a branch of physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which rel ...
. The largest accelerator currently operating is the
Large Hadron Collider The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and highest-energy particle collider A collider is a type of particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) ...
(LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland, operated by the
CERN The European Organization for Nuclear Research (french: Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire), known as CERN (; ; derived from the name ), is a European research organization that operates the largest particle physics laborat ...
. It is a
collider A collider is a type of particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), Batavia, Illinois, USA. Shut down in 2011, until 2007 it was the most powerful particle acceler ...
accelerator, which can accelerate two beams of protons to an energy of 6.5 
TeV TEV may refer to: * Transient Earth Voltage: a term for voltages appearing on the metal work of switchgear In an electric power system, switchgear is composed of electrical disconnect switches, fuses or circuit breakers used to control, pr ...
and cause them to collide head-on, creating center-of-mass energies of 13 TeV. Other powerful accelerators are,
RHIC The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC ) is the first and one of only two operating heavy-ion colliders, and the only spin (physics), spin-polarized proton collider ever built. Located at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in Upton, New York, ...
at
Brookhaven National Laboratory Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) is a United States Department of Energy national laboratories, United States Department of Energy national laboratory located in Upton, New York, on Long Island, and was formally established in 1947 at the sit ...
in New York and, formerly, the
Tevatron The Tevatron was a circular particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), Batavia, Illinois, USA. Shut down in 2011, until 2007 it was the most powerful particle ac ...
at
Fermilab Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a United States Department of Energy United States Department of Energy National Labs, national laboratory specializing in high-energy partic ...

Fermilab
, Batavia, Illinois. Accelerators are also used as
synchrotron light source A synchrotron light source is a source of electromagnetic radiation (EM) usually produced by a storage ring, for scientific and technical purposes. First observed in synchrotrons, synchrotron light is now produced by storage rings and other sp ...
s for the study of
condensed matter physics Condensed matter physics is the field of physics that deals with the macroscopic and microscopic physical properties of matter, especially the solid and liquid State of matter, phases which arise from electromagnetic forces between atoms. More ge ...
. Smaller particle accelerators are used in a wide variety of applications, including
particle therapy Particle therapy is a form of external beam radiotherapy using beams of energetic neutron The neutron is a subatomic particle, symbol or , which has a neutral (not positive or negative) charge, and a mass slightly greater than that of a pro ...
for oncological purposes,
radioisotope A radionuclide (radioactive nuclide, radioisotope or radioactive isotope) is a nuclide A nuclide (or nucleide, from nucleus, also known as nuclear species) is a class of atoms characterized by their number of proton A proton is a subatomic par ...
production for medical diagnostics, ion implanters for manufacture of semiconductors, and accelerator mass spectrometers for measurements of rare isotopes such as
radiocarbon Carbon-14 (14C), or radiocarbon, is a radioactive isotope A radionuclide (radioactive nuclide, radioisotope or radioactive isotope) is an atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry ...
. There are currently more than 30,000 accelerators in operation around the world. There are two basic classes of accelerators: electrostatic and electrodynamic (or electromagnetic) accelerators. ''
Electrostatic particle accelerator upright=1.5, The Westinghouse Atom Smasher, an early Van de Graaff accelerator built 1937 at the Westinghouse Research Center in Forest Hills, Pennsylvania. The cutaway shows the fabric belts that carry charge up to the mushroom-shaped high voltage ...
s'' use static
electric field An electric field (sometimes E-field) is the physical field that surrounds electrically-charged particle In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' ' ...

electric field
s to accelerate particles. The most common types are the
Cockcroft–Walton generator The Cockcroft–Walton (CW) generator, or multiplier, is an electric circuit An electrical network is an interconnection of electrical components (e.g., batteries, resistors, inductor An inductor, also called a coil, choke, or reactor, i ...

Cockcroft–Walton generator
and the
Van de Graaff generator A Van de Graaff generator is an electrostatic generator which uses a moving belt to accumulate electric charge Electric charge is the physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when placed in an electromagnetic field. Th ...

Van de Graaff generator
. A small-scale example of this class is the
cathode ray tube A cathode-ray tube (CRT) is a vacuum tube A vacuum tube, electron tube, valve (British usage), or tube (North America), is a device that controls electric current An electric current is a stream of charged particles, such as electrons ...

cathode ray tube
in an ordinary old television set. The achievable
kinetic energy In physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular ...
for particles in these devices is determined by the accelerating
voltage Voltage, electric potential difference, electric pressure or electric tension is the difference in electric potential The electric potential (also called the ''electric field potential'', potential drop, the electrostatic potential) is the ...

voltage
, which is limited by
electrical breakdown showing the ribbon-like plasma Plasma or plasm may refer to: Science * Plasma (physics), one of the four fundamental states of matter * Plasma (mineral) or heliotrope, a mineral aggregate * Quark–gluon plasma, a state of matter in quantum chromod ...
. ''Electrodynamic'' or ''electromagnetic'' accelerators, on the other hand, use changing electromagnetic fields (either
magnetic induction Electromagnetic or magnetic induction is the production of an electromotive force In electromagnetism and electronics, electromotive force (emf, denoted \mathcal and measured in volts) is the electrical action produced by a non-electrical sour ...

magnetic induction
or oscillating
radio frequency Radio frequency (RF) is the oscillation Oscillation is the repetitive variation, typically in time Time is the indefinite continued sequence, progress of existence and event (philosophy), events that occur in an apparently irreversible p ...
fields) to accelerate particles. Since in these types the particles can pass through the same accelerating field multiple times, the output energy is not limited by the strength of the accelerating field. This class, which was first developed in the 1920s, is the basis for most modern large-scale accelerators.
Rolf Widerøe Rolf Widerøe (11 July 1902 – 11 October 1996) was a Norway, Norwegian accelerator physics, accelerator physicist who was the originator of many particle accelerator, particle acceleration concepts, including the ''resonance accelerator'' and th ...
,
Gustav IsingGustaf Ising (or ''Gustav Ising'' in some publications), (19 February 1883 in Finja – 5 February 1960 in Danderyd Danderyd Municipality (''Danderyds kommun''; ) is a municipalities of Sweden, municipality north of Stockholm in Stockholm Coun ...
,
Leó Szilárd Leo Szilard (; hu, Szilárd Leó, pronounced ; born ''Leó Spitz''; February 11, 1898 – May 30, 1964) was a Hungarian-American physicist and inventor. He conceived the nuclear chain reaction in 1933, patented the idea of a nuclear fiss ...
,
Max Steenbeck Max Christian Theodor Steenbeck (21 March 1904 – 15 December 1981) was a Germany, German physicist who worked at the ''Siemens, Siemens-Schuckertwerke'' in his early career, during which time he invented the betatron in 1934. He was taken t ...
, and
Ernest Lawrence Ernest Orlando Lawrence (August 8, 1901 – August 27, 1958) was a pioneering American nuclear scientist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1939 for his invention of the cyclotron. He is known for his work on uranium-isotope sepa ...

Ernest Lawrence
are considered pioneers of this field, conceiving and building the first operational
linear particle accelerator uses radio waves from a series of RF cavities at the start of the linac to accelerate the electron beam in bunches to energies of 100 MeV. A linear particle accelerator (often shortened to linac) is a type of particle accelerator , a synch ...
, the
betatron A betatron is a type of cyclic particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), Batavia, Illinois, USA. Shut down in 2011, until 2007 it was the most powerful particle ...
, and the
cyclotron A cyclotron is a type of particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), Batavia, Illinois, USA. Shut down in 2011, until 2007 it was the most powerful particle ac ...

cyclotron
. Because the target of the particle beams of early accelerators was usually the atoms of a piece of matter, with the goal being to create collisions with their nuclei in order to investigate nuclear structure, accelerators were commonly referred to as atom smashers in the 20th century. The term persists despite the fact that many modern accelerators create collisions between two
subatomic particles In physics, physical sciences, subatomic particles are smaller than atoms. They can be composite particles, such as the neutron and proton; or elementary particles, which according to the standard model are not made of other particles. Particle p ...
, rather than a particle and an atomic nucleus.


Uses

Beams of high-energy particles are useful for fundamental and applied research in the sciences, and also in many technical and industrial fields unrelated to fundamental research. It has been estimated that there are approximately 30,000 accelerators worldwide. Of these, only about 1% are research machines with energies above 1
GeV GEV may refer to: * , a tabletop game by Steve Jackson Games * , in North Carolina, United States * , in Sweden * * , Israeli-South African motorcyclist * (GeV) * * * * Viya language {{disambiguation ...
, while about 44% are for radiotherapy, 41% for
ion implantation technological facility in Toulouse, France. Ion implantation is a low-temperature process by which ion (physics), ions of one element are accelerated into a solid target, thereby changing the physical, chemical, or electrical properties of the t ...
, 9% for industrial processing and research, and 4% for biomedical and other low-energy research.


Particle physics

For the most basic inquiries into the dynamics and structure of matter, space, and time, physicists seek the simplest kinds of interactions at the highest possible energies. These typically entail particle energies of many
GeV GEV may refer to: * , a tabletop game by Steve Jackson Games * , in North Carolina, United States * , in Sweden * * , Israeli-South African motorcyclist * (GeV) * * * * Viya language {{disambiguation ...
, and interactions of the simplest kinds of particles:
lepton In particle physics, a lepton is an elementary particle of half-integer spin (spin (physics), spin ) that does not undergo strong interactions. Two main classes of leptons exist: electric charge, charged leptons (also known as the electron-lik ...

lepton
s (e.g. electrons and
positron The positron or antielectron is the antiparticle s (left) and antiparticles (right). From top to bottom; electron The electron is a subatomic particle In physical sciences, subatomic particles are smaller than atom An atom is ...

positron
s) and
quark A quark () is a type of elementary particle In particle physics, an elementary particle or fundamental particle is a subatomic particle that is not composed of other particles. Particles currently thought to be elementary include the fundam ...

quark
s for the matter, or
photon The photon ( el, φῶς, phōs, light) is a type of elementary particle In , an elementary particle or fundamental particle is a that is not composed of other particles. Particles currently thought to be elementary include the fundamental s ...

photon
s and
gluon A gluon () is an elementary particle In , an elementary particle or fundamental particle is a that is not composed of other particles. Particles currently thought to be elementary include the fundamental s (s, s, s, and s), which generally ar ...

gluon
s for the
field quanta In physics, quantization (in British English quantisation) is the process of transition from a classical understanding of physical phenomena to a newer understanding known as quantum mechanics. It is a procedure for constructing a quantum field t ...
. Since isolated quarks are experimentally unavailable due to
color confinement Color (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American English ...
, the simplest available experiments involve the interactions of, first, leptons with each other, and second, of leptons with
nucleon In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they undergo during ...
s, which are composed of quarks and gluons. To study the collisions of quarks with each other, scientists resort to collisions of nucleons, which at high energy may be usefully considered as essentially 2-body interactions of the quarks and gluons of which they are composed. This elementary particle physicists tend to use machines creating beams of electrons, positrons, protons, and
antiproton The antiproton, , (pronounced ''p-bar'') is the antiparticle s (left) and antiparticles (right). From top to bottom; electron The electron is a subatomic particle In physical sciences, subatomic particles are smaller than atom An ...

antiproton
s, interacting with each other or with the simplest nuclei (e.g.,
hydrogen Hydrogen is the chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol H and atomic number 1. Hydrogen is the lightest element. At standard temperature and pressure, standard conditions hydrogen is a gas of diatomic molecules having the che ...

hydrogen
or
deuterium Deuterium (or hydrogen-2, symbol or deuterium, also known as heavy hydrogen) is one of two stable isotopes The term stable isotope has a meaning similar to stable nuclide, but is preferably used when speaking of nuclides of a specific elemen ...

deuterium
) at the highest possible energies, generally hundreds of GeV or more. The largest and highest-energy particle accelerator used for elementary
particle physics Particle physics (also known as high energy physics) is a branch of physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which rel ...
is the
Large Hadron Collider The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and highest-energy particle collider A collider is a type of particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) ...
(LHC) at
CERN The European Organization for Nuclear Research (french: Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire), known as CERN (; ; derived from the name ), is a European research organization that operates the largest particle physics laborat ...
, operating since 2009.


Nuclear physics and isotope production

Nuclear physicist Nuclear physics is the field of physics that studies atomic nuclei and their constituents and interactions. Other forms of nuclear matter are also studied. Nuclear physics should not be confused with atomic physics, which studies the atom as a wh ...
s and
cosmologist Cosmology (from Ancient Greek, Greek κόσμος, ''kosmos'' "world" and -λογία, ''-logia'' "study of") is a branch of astronomy concerned with the studies of the origin and evolution of the universe, from the Big Bang to today and on int ...
s may use beams of bare
atomic nuclei The atomic nucleus is the small, dense region consisting of proton A proton is a subatomic particle, symbol or , with a positive electric charge of +1''e'' elementary charge and a mass slightly less than that of a neutron. Protons and neutr ...
, stripped of electrons, to investigate the structure, interactions, and properties of the nuclei themselves, and of
condensed matter Condensed matter physics is the field of physics that deals with the macroscopic and microscopic physical properties of matter, especially the solid and liquid State of matter, phases which arise from electromagnetic forces between atoms. More ge ...
at extremely high temperatures and densities, such as might have occurred in the first moments of the
Big Bang The Big Bang theory A theory is a rational Rationality is the quality or state of being rational – that is, being based on or agreeable to reason Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic ...

Big Bang
. These investigations often involve collisions of heavy nucleiof atoms like
iron Iron () is a chemical element In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behav ...

iron
or
gold Gold is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elemen ...

gold
at energies of several GeV per
nucleon In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they undergo during ...
. The largest such particle accelerator is the
Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC ) is the first and one of only two operating heavy- ion collider A collider is a type of particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory ...
(RHIC) at
Brookhaven National Laboratory Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) is a United States Department of Energy national laboratories, United States Department of Energy national laboratory located in Upton, New York, on Long Island, and was formally established in 1947 at the sit ...
. Particle accelerators can also produce proton beams, which can produce proton-rich medical or research
isotope Isotopes are two or more types of atoms that have the same atomic number 300px, The Rutherford–Bohr model of the hydrogen atom () or a hydrogen-like ion (). In this model it is an essential feature that the photon energy (or frequency) of ...
s as opposed to the neutron-rich ones made in fission reactors; however, recent work has shown how to make 99
Mo
Mo
, usually made in reactors, by accelerating isotopes of hydrogen, although this method still requires a reactor to produce
tritium Tritium ( or , ) or hydrogen-3 (symbol T or H) is a rare and radioactive Radioactive decay (also known as nuclear decay, radioactivity, radioactive disintegration or nuclear disintegration) is the process by which an unstable atomic nucl ...

tritium
. An example of this type of machine is LANSCE at Los Alamos.


Synchrotron radiation

Electron The electron is a subatomic particle (denoted by the symbol or ) whose electric charge is negative one elementary charge. Electrons belong to the first generation (particle physics), generation of the lepton particle family, and are general ...

Electron
s propagating through a magnetic field emit very bright and coherent
photon The photon ( el, φῶς, phōs, light) is a type of elementary particle In , an elementary particle or fundamental particle is a that is not composed of other particles. Particles currently thought to be elementary include the fundamental s ...

photon
beams via
synchrotron radiation Synchrotron radiation (also known as magnetobremsstrahlung radiation) is the electromagnetic radiation In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physic ...
. It has numerous uses in the study of atomic structure, chemistry, condensed matter physics, biology, and technology. A large number of
synchrotron light source A synchrotron light source is a source of electromagnetic radiation (EM) usually produced by a storage ring, for scientific and technical purposes. First observed in synchrotrons, synchrotron light is now produced by storage rings and other sp ...
s exist worldwide. Examples in the U.S. are SSRL at
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, originally named Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, is a United States Department of Energy The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is a cabinet-level department of the United States Governmen ...
, APS at Argonne National Laboratory,
ALS Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS; also known as Lou Gehrig's disease in Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the At ...
at
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), commonly referred to as Berkeley Lab, is a United States national laboratory that conducts scientific research on behalf of the Department of EnergyA Ministry of Energy or Department of Energy is a ...
, and
NSLS
NSLS
at
Brookhaven National Laboratory Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) is a United States Department of Energy national laboratories, United States Department of Energy national laboratory located in Upton, New York, on Long Island, and was formally established in 1947 at the sit ...
. In Europe, there are
MAX IV MAX IV is a next-generation synchrotron radiation facility in Lund Lund (, also , ) is a city in the southern Swedish provinces of Sweden, province of Scania, across the Øresund, Öresund strait from Copenhagen. The town had 91,940 inhabitan ...

MAX IV
in Lund, Sweden,
BESSYThe Berliner Elektronenspeicherring-Gesellschaft für Synchrotronstrahlung m. b. H. (''English'': Berlin Electron The electron is a subatomic particle, symbol or , whose electric charge Electric charge is the physical property of matter tha ...
in Berlin, Germany,
Diamond Diamond is a Allotropes of carbon, solid form of the element carbon with its atoms arranged in a crystal structure called diamond cubic. At Standard conditions for temperature and pressure, room temperature and pressure, another solid form of ...
in Oxfordshire, UK, ESRF in
Grenoble Grenoble ( , ; , ''Grainóvol'', oc, Graçanòbol, ''Grasanòbol'') is the prefecture A prefecture (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. ...

Grenoble
, France, the latter has been used to extract detailed 3-dimensional images of insects trapped in amber.
Free-electron laser A free-electron laser (FEL) is a (fourth generation) synchrotron light source A synchrotron light source is a source of electromagnetic radiation (EM) usually produced by a storage ring, for scientific and technical purposes. First observed i ...

Free-electron laser
s (FELs) are a special class of light sources based on
synchrotron radiation Synchrotron radiation (also known as magnetobremsstrahlung radiation) is the electromagnetic radiation In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physic ...
that provides shorter pulses with higher temporal
coherence Coherence, coherency, or coherent may refer to the following: Physics * Coherence (physics), an ideal property of waves that enables stationary (i.e. temporally and spatially constant) interference * Coherence (units of measurement), a derive ...
. A specially designed FEL is the most
brilliant Brilliant may refer to: Music *Brilliant (album), ''Brilliant'' (album), a 2012 album by Ultravox *Brilliant (band), a British pop/rock group active in the 1980s *Brilliant (song), "Brilliant" (song), a song by D'espairsRay *Brilliant Classics, Du ...

brilliant
source of
x-ray An X-ray, or, much less commonly, X-radiation, is a penetrating form of high-energy electromagnetic radiation In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Moti ...

x-ray
s in the observable universe. The most prominent examples are the LCLS in the U.S. and European XFEL in Germany. More attention is being drawn towards
soft x-ray An X-ray, or X-radiation, is a penetrating form of high-energy electromagnetic radiation. Most X-rays have a wavelength ranging from 10 Picometer, picometers to 10 Nanometer, nanometers, corresponding to frequency, frequencies in the r ...
lasers, which together with pulse shortening opens up new methods for attosecond science. Apart from x-rays, FELs are used to emit terahertz light, e.g. FELIX in Nijmegen, Netherlands, TELBE in Dresden, Germany and NovoFEL in Novosibirsk, Russia. Thus there is a great demand for electron accelerators of moderate (
GeV GEV may refer to: * , a tabletop game by Steve Jackson Games * , in North Carolina, United States * , in Sweden * * , Israeli-South African motorcyclist * (GeV) * * * * Viya language {{disambiguation ...
) energy, high intensity and high beam quality to drive light sources.


Low-energy machines and particle therapy

Everyday examples of particle accelerators are
cathode ray tube A cathode-ray tube (CRT) is a vacuum tube A vacuum tube, electron tube, valve (British usage), or tube (North America), is a device that controls electric current An electric current is a stream of charged particles, such as electrons ...

cathode ray tube
s found in television sets and
X-ray An X-ray, or, much less commonly, X-radiation, is a penetrating form of high-energy electromagnetic radiation In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Moti ...

X-ray
generators. These low-energy accelerators use a single pair of
electrode An electrode is an electrical conductor In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, a ...

electrode
s with a DC voltage of a few thousand volts between them. In an X-ray generator, the target itself is one of the electrodes. A low-energy particle accelerator called an ion implanter is used in the manufacture of
integrated circuit An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit (also referred to as an IC, a chip, or a microchip) is a set of electronic circuit 200px, A circuit built on a printed circuit board (PCB). An electronic circuit is composed of indiv ...

integrated circuit
s. At lower energies, beams of accelerated nuclei are also used in medicine as
particle therapy Particle therapy is a form of external beam radiotherapy using beams of energetic neutron The neutron is a subatomic particle, symbol or , which has a neutral (not positive or negative) charge, and a mass slightly greater than that of a pro ...
, for the treatment of cancer. DC accelerator types capable of accelerating particles to speeds sufficient to cause nuclear reactions are Cockcroft-Walton generators or
voltage multiplier 280px, Villard cascade voltage multiplier. A voltage multiplier is an electrical circuit An electrical network is an interconnection of electronic component, electrical components (e.g., battery (electricity), batteries, resistors, inductors, ...

voltage multiplier
s, which convert AC to high voltage DC, or
Van de Graaff generator A Van de Graaff generator is an electrostatic generator which uses a moving belt to accumulate electric charge Electric charge is the physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when placed in an electromagnetic field. Th ...

Van de Graaff generator
s that use static electricity carried by belts.


Radiation sterilization of medical devices

Electron beam processing Electron-beam processing or electron irradiation Irradiation is the process by which an object is exposed to radiation. The exposure can originate from various sources, including natural sources. Most frequently the term refers to ionizing radia ...
is commonly used for sterilization.
Electron beams Cathode rays (electron beam or e-beam) are streams of electron The electron is a subatomic particle, symbol or , whose electric charge Electric charge is the physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when placed in ...
are an on-off technology that provide a much higher dose rate than gamma or X-rays emitted by
radioisotope A radionuclide (radioactive nuclide, radioisotope or radioactive isotope) is a nuclide A nuclide (or nucleide, from nucleus, also known as nuclear species) is a class of atoms characterized by their number of proton A proton is a subatomic par ...
s like
cobalt-60 Cobalt-60 (60Co) is a synthetic isotope, synthetic radioactive Isotopes of cobalt, isotope of cobalt with a half-life of 5.2713 years. It is produced artificially in nuclear reactors. Deliberate industrial production depends on neutron activat ...

cobalt-60
(60Co) or
caesium-137 Caesium-137 (), or radiocaesium, is a radioactive Radioactive decay (also known as nuclear decay, radioactivity, radioactive disintegration or nuclear disintegration) is the process by which an unstable atomic nucleus loses energy by rad ...

caesium-137
(137Cs). Due to the higher dose rate, less exposure time is required and polymer degradation is reduced. Because
electron The electron is a subatomic particle (denoted by the symbol or ) whose electric charge is negative one elementary charge. Electrons belong to the first generation (particle physics), generation of the lepton particle family, and are general ...

electron
s carry a charge, electron beams are less penetrating than both gamma and X-rays.


Electrostatic particle accelerators

Historically, the first accelerators used simple technology of a single static high voltage to accelerate charged particles. The charged particle was accelerated through an evacuated tube with an electrode at either end, with the static potential across it. Since the particle passed only once through the potential difference, the output energy was limited to the accelerating voltage of the machine. While this method is still extremely popular today, with the electrostatic accelerators greatly out-numbering any other type, they are more suited to lower energy studies owing to the practical voltage limit of about 1 MV for air insulated machines, or 30 MV when the accelerator is operated in a tank of pressurized gas with high
dielectric strengthIn physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that studies matter, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spac ...
, such as
sulfur hexafluoride Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) or sulphur hexafluoride (British spelling Despite the various English dialects spoken from country to country and within different regions of the same country, there are only slight regional variations in Engli ...
. In a ''tandem accelerator'' the potential is used twice to accelerate the particles, by reversing the charge of the particles while they are inside the terminal. This is possible with the acceleration of
atomic nuclei The atomic nucleus is the small, dense region consisting of proton A proton is a subatomic particle, symbol or , with a positive electric charge of +1''e'' elementary charge and a mass slightly less than that of a neutron. Protons and neutr ...
by using
anion An ion () is an atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched are ...
s (negatively charged
ion An ion () is an atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched are ...
s), and then passing the beam through a thin foil to strip electrons off the anions inside the high voltage terminal, converting them to cations (positively charged ions), which are accelerated again as they leave the terminal. The two main types of electrostatic accelerator are the Cockcroft-Walton accelerator, which uses a diode-capacitor voltage multiplier to produce high voltage, and the Van de Graaff accelerator, which uses a moving fabric belt to carry charge to the high voltage electrode. Although electrostatic accelerators accelerate particles along a straight line, the term linear accelerator is more often used for accelerators that employ oscillating rather than static electric fields.


Electrodynamic (electromagnetic) particle accelerators

Due to the high voltage ceiling imposed by electrical discharge, in order to accelerate particles to higher energies, techniques involving dynamic fields rather than static fields are used. Electrodynamic acceleration can arise from either of two mechanisms: non-resonant
magnetic induction Electromagnetic or magnetic induction is the production of an electromotive force In electromagnetism and electronics, electromotive force (emf, denoted \mathcal and measured in volts) is the electrical action produced by a non-electrical sour ...

magnetic induction
, or resonant circuits or
cavitiesA cavity is a hollow in an object. Biology and healthcare *Cavity or Tooth decay, dental caries, damage to the structure of a tooth *Body cavity, a fluid filled space in many animals where organs typically develop **The gastrovascular cavity, which ...
excited by oscillating RF fields. Electrodynamic accelerators can be ''linear'', with particles accelerating in a straight line, or ''circular'', using magnetic fields to bend particles in a roughly circular orbit.


Magnetic induction accelerators

Magnetic induction accelerators accelerate particles by induction from an increasing magnetic field, as if the particles were the secondary winding in a transformer. The increasing magnetic field creates a circulating electric field which can be configured to accelerate the particles. Induction accelerators can be either linear or circular.


Linear induction accelerators

Linear induction accelerators utilize ferrite-loaded, non-resonant induction cavities. Each cavity can be thought of as two large washer-shaped disks connected by an outer cylindrical tube. Between the disks is a ferrite toroid. A voltage pulse applied between the two disks causes an increasing magnetic field which inductively couples power into the charged particle beam. The linear induction accelerator was invented by Christofilos in the 1960s. Linear induction accelerators are capable of accelerating very high beam currents (>1000 A) in a single short pulse. They have been used to generate X-rays for flash radiography (e.g. DARHT at
LANL Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos or LANL for short) is a United States Department of Energy national laboratory initially organized during World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW ...
), and have been considered as particle injectors for
magnetic confinement fusion Magnetic confinement fusion is an approach to generate thermonuclear fusion power Fusion power is a proposed form of power generation that would generate electricity by using heat from nuclear fusion, nuclear fusion reactions. In a fusion proces ...
and as drivers for
free electron laser A free-electron laser (FEL) is a (fourth generation) synchrotron light source producing extremely Synchrotron light source, brilliant and short pulses of synchrotron radiation. An FEL functions and behaves in many ways like a laser, but instead of ...
s.


Betatrons

The
Betatron A betatron is a type of cyclic particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), Batavia, Illinois, USA. Shut down in 2011, until 2007 it was the most powerful particle ...
is a circular magnetic induction accelerator, invented by
Donald Kerst Donald William Kerst (November 1, 1911 – August 19, 1993) was an United States, American physicist who worked on advanced particle accelerator concepts (accelerator physics) and plasma physics. He is most notable for his development of the bet ...
in 1940 for accelerating
electron The electron is a subatomic particle (denoted by the symbol or ) whose electric charge is negative one elementary charge. Electrons belong to the first generation (particle physics), generation of the lepton particle family, and are general ...

electron
s. The concept originates ultimately from Norwegian-German scientist
Rolf Widerøe Rolf Widerøe (11 July 1902 – 11 October 1996) was a Norway, Norwegian accelerator physics, accelerator physicist who was the originator of many particle accelerator, particle acceleration concepts, including the ''resonance accelerator'' and th ...
. These machines, like synchrotrons, use a donut-shaped ring magnet (see below) with a cyclically increasing B field, but accelerate the particles by induction from the increasing magnetic field, as if they were the secondary winding in a transformer, due to the changing magnetic flux through the orbit. Achieving constant orbital radius while supplying the proper accelerating electric field requires that the magnetic flux linking the orbit be somewhat independent of the magnetic field on the orbit, bending the particles into a constant radius curve. These machines have in practice been limited by the large radiative losses suffered by the electrons moving at nearly the speed of light in a relatively small radius orbit.


Linear accelerators

In a
linear particle accelerator uses radio waves from a series of RF cavities at the start of the linac to accelerate the electron beam in bunches to energies of 100 MeV. A linear particle accelerator (often shortened to linac) is a type of particle accelerator , a synch ...
(linac), particles are accelerated in a straight line with a target of interest at one end. They are often used to provide an initial low-energy kick to particles before they are injected into circular accelerators. The longest linac in the world is the Stanford Linear Accelerator, SLAC, which is long. SLAC is an
electron The electron is a subatomic particle (denoted by the symbol or ) whose electric charge is negative one elementary charge. Electrons belong to the first generation (particle physics), generation of the lepton particle family, and are general ...

electron
-
positron The positron or antielectron is the antiparticle s (left) and antiparticles (right). From top to bottom; electron The electron is a subatomic particle In physical sciences, subatomic particles are smaller than atom An atom is ...

positron
collider. Linear high-energy accelerators use a linear array of plates (or drift tubes) to which an alternating high-energy field is applied. As the particles approach a plate they are accelerated towards it by an opposite polarity charge applied to the plate. As they pass through a hole in the plate, the
polarity Polarity may refer to: Science *Polarity (mutual inductance), the relationship between components such as transformer windings *Polarity (projective geometry), in mathematics, a duality of order two *Polarity in embryogenesis, the animal and vegeta ...
is switched so that the plate now repels them and they are now accelerated by it towards the next plate. Normally a stream of "bunches" of particles are accelerated, so a carefully controlled AC voltage is applied to each plate to continuously repeat this process for each bunch. As the particles approach the speed of light the switching rate of the electric fields becomes so high that they operate at
radio frequencies Radio frequency (RF) is the oscillation Oscillation is the repetitive variation, typically in time, of some measure about a central value (often a point of Mechanical equilibrium, equilibrium) or between two or more different states. The ter ...
, and so microwave cavities are used in higher energy machines instead of simple plates. Linear accelerators are also widely used in
medicine Medicine is the science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts ( descriptive knowledge), skills (proced ...

medicine
, for
radiotherapy Radiation therapy or radiotherapy, often abbreviated RT, RTx, or XRT, is a therapy using ionizing radiation Ionizing radiation (or ionising radiation), including nuclear radiation, consists of s or s that have sufficient to s or s by detachi ...
and
radiosurgery Radiosurgery is surgery using radiation, that is, the destruction of precisely selected areas of tissue (biology), tissue using ionizing radiation rather than excision with a blade. Like other forms of radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy), ...
. Medical grade linacs accelerate electrons using a
klystron A klystron is a specialized linear-beam vacuum tube A vacuum tube, electron tube, valve (British usage), or tube (North America), is a device that controls electric current An electric current is a stream of charged particles, such as e ...

klystron
and a complex bending magnet arrangement which produces a beam of 6-30 
MeV In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "P ...
energy. The electrons can be used directly or they can be collided with a target to produce a beam of
X-rays An X-ray, or, much less commonly, X-radiation, is a penetrating form of high-energy electromagnetic radiation In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Moti ...

X-rays
. The reliability, flexibility and accuracy of the radiation beam produced has largely supplanted the older use of
cobalt-60 Cobalt-60 (60Co) is a synthetic isotope, synthetic radioactive Isotopes of cobalt, isotope of cobalt with a half-life of 5.2713 years. It is produced artificially in nuclear reactors. Deliberate industrial production depends on neutron activat ...

cobalt-60
therapy as a treatment tool.


Circular or cyclic RF accelerators

In the circular accelerator, particles move in a circle until they reach sufficient energy. The particle track is typically bent into a circle using
electromagnet An electromagnet is a type of magnet A magnet is a material or object that produces a magnetic field A magnetic field is a vector field In vector calculus and physics, a vector field is an assignment of a vector to each poin ...

electromagnet
s. The advantage of circular accelerators over linear accelerators (''linacs'') is that the ring topology allows continuous acceleration, as the particle can transit indefinitely. Another advantage is that a circular accelerator is smaller than a linear accelerator of comparable power (i.e. a linac would have to be extremely long to have the equivalent power of a circular accelerator). Depending on the energy and the particle being accelerated, circular accelerators suffer a disadvantage in that the particles emit
synchrotron radiation Synchrotron radiation (also known as magnetobremsstrahlung radiation) is the electromagnetic radiation In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physic ...
. When any charged particle is accelerated, it emits
electromagnetic radiation In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. ...

electromagnetic radiation
and
secondary emission Secondary emission in physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that studies matter, its Motion (physics), motion and ...
s. As a particle traveling in a circle is always accelerating towards the center of the circle, it continuously radiates towards the tangent of the circle. This radiation is called
synchrotron light Synchrotron radiation (also known as magnetobremsstrahlung radiation) is the electromagnetic radiation emitted when Theory of relativity, relativistic charged particles are subject to an acceleration perpendicular to their velocity (). It is produ ...
and depends highly on the mass of the accelerating particle. For this reason, many high energy electron accelerators are linacs. Certain accelerators (
synchrotron A synchrotron is a particular type of cyclic particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), Batavia, Illinois, USA. Shut down in 2011, until 2007 it was the most po ...

synchrotron
s) are however built specially for producing synchrotron light (
X-ray An X-ray, or, much less commonly, X-radiation, is a penetrating form of high-energy electromagnetic radiation In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Moti ...

X-ray
s). Since the special theory of relativity requires that matter always travels slower than the speed of light in a
vacuum A vacuum is a space Space is the boundless three-dimensional Three-dimensional space (also: 3-space or, rarely, tri-dimensional space) is a geometric setting in which three values (called parameter A parameter (from the Ancient Gr ...

vacuum
, in high-energy accelerators, as the energy increases the particle speed approaches the speed of light as a limit, but never attains it. Therefore, particle physicists do not generally think in terms of speed, but rather in terms of a particle's
energy In physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regula ...

energy
or
momentum In Newtonian mechanics, linear momentum, translational momentum, or simply momentum is the product of the mass Mass is the quantity Quantity is a property that can exist as a multitude or magnitude, which illustrate discontinui ...

momentum
, usually measured in
electron volt In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that studies matter, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through S ...
s (eV). An important principle for circular accelerators, and
particle beam A particle beam is a stream of charged or neutral particleIn physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, spac ...
s in general, is that the
curvature In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities an ...

curvature
of the particle trajectory is proportional to the particle charge and to the magnetic field, but inversely proportional to the (typically relativistic)
momentum In Newtonian mechanics, linear momentum, translational momentum, or simply momentum is the product of the mass Mass is the quantity Quantity is a property that can exist as a multitude or magnitude, which illustrate discontinui ...

momentum
.


Cyclotrons

The earliest operational circular accelerators were
cyclotron A cyclotron is a type of particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), Batavia, Illinois, USA. Shut down in 2011, until 2007 it was the most powerful particle ac ...

cyclotron
s, invented in 1929 by
Ernest Lawrence Ernest Orlando Lawrence (August 8, 1901 – August 27, 1958) was a pioneering American nuclear scientist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1939 for his invention of the cyclotron. He is known for his work on uranium-isotope sepa ...

Ernest Lawrence
at the
University of California, Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, or California) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...

University of California, Berkeley
. Cyclotrons have a single pair of hollow "D"-shaped plates to accelerate the particles and a single large
dipole magnet A dipole magnet is the simplest type of magnet A magnet is a material or object that produces a . This magnetic field is invisible but is responsible for the most notable property of a magnet: a force that pulls on other s, such as , , , ...
to bend their path into a circular orbit. It is a characteristic property of charged particles in a uniform and constant magnetic field B that they orbit with a constant period, at a frequency called the
cyclotron frequency Cyclotron resonance describes the interaction of external forces with charged particles experiencing a magnetic field A magnetic field is a vector field that describes the magnetic influence on moving electric charges, electric currents, and ma ...
, so long as their speed is small compared to the speed of light ''c''. This means that the accelerating D's of a cyclotron can be driven at a constant frequency by a radio frequency (RF) accelerating power source, as the beam spirals outwards continuously. The particles are injected in the center of the magnet and are extracted at the outer edge at their maximum energy. Cyclotrons reach an energy limit because of
relativistic effects Relativistic quantum chemistry combines relativistic mechanics In physics, relativistic mechanics refers to mechanics compatible with special relativity (SR) and general relativity (GR). It provides a non-quantum mechanics, quantum mechanical desc ...
whereby the particles effectively become more massive, so that their cyclotron frequency drops out of sync with the accelerating RF. Therefore, simple cyclotrons can accelerate protons only to an energy of around 15 million electron volts (15 MeV, corresponding to a speed of roughly 10% of ''c''), because the protons get out of phase with the driving electric field. If accelerated further, the beam would continue to spiral outward to a larger radius but the particles would no longer gain enough speed to complete the larger circle in step with the accelerating RF. To accommodate relativistic effects the magnetic field needs to be increased to higher radii as is done in
isochronous cyclotron . The magnet is painted yellow. A cyclotron is a type of particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), Batavia, Illinois, USA. Shut down in 2011, until 2007 it was ...
s. An example of an isochronous cyclotron is the PSI Ring cyclotron in Switzerland, which provides protons at the energy of 590 MeV which corresponds to roughly 80% of the speed of light. The advantage of such a cyclotron is the maximum achievable extracted proton current which is currently 2.2 mA. The energy and current correspond to 1.3 MW beam power which is the highest of any accelerator currently existing.


Synchrocyclotrons and isochronous cyclotrons

A classic cyclotron can be modified to increase its energy limit. The historically first approach was the
synchrocyclotron A synchrocyclotron is a special type of cyclotron . The magnet is painted yellow. A cyclotron is a type of particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), Batavia, ...
, which accelerates the particles in bunches. It uses a constant
magnetic field A magnetic field is a vector field In vector calculus and physics, a vector field is an assignment of a vector to each point in a subset of space. For instance, a vector field in the plane can be visualised as a collection of arrows with ...

magnetic field
B, but reduces the accelerating field's frequency so as to keep the particles in step as they spiral outward, matching their mass-dependent
cyclotron resonance Cyclotron resonance describes the interaction of external forces with charged particles experiencing a magnetic field A magnetic field is a vector field that describes the magnetic influence on moving electric charges, electric currents, and ma ...
frequency. This approach suffers from low average beam intensity due to the bunching, and again from the need for a huge magnet of large radius and constant field over the larger orbit demanded by high energy. The second approach to the problem of accelerating relativistic particles is the
isochronous cyclotron . The magnet is painted yellow. A cyclotron is a type of particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), Batavia, Illinois, USA. Shut down in 2011, until 2007 it was ...
. In such a structure, the accelerating field's frequency (and the cyclotron resonance frequency) is kept constant for all energies by shaping the magnet poles so to increase magnetic field with radius. Thus, all particles get accelerated in
isochronous A sequence of events is isochronous if the events occur regularly, or at equal time Time is the continued of and that occurs in an apparently succession from the , through the , into the . It is a component quantity of various s used ...
time intervals. Higher energy particles travel a shorter distance in each orbit than they would in a classical cyclotron, thus remaining in phase with the accelerating field. The advantage of the isochronous cyclotron is that it can deliver continuous beams of higher average intensity, which is useful for some applications. The main disadvantages are the size and cost of the large magnet needed, and the difficulty in achieving the high magnetic field values required at the outer edge of the structure. Synchrocyclotrons have not been built since the isochronous cyclotron was developed.


Synchrotrons

To reach still higher energies, with relativistic mass approaching or exceeding the rest mass of the particles (for protons, billions of electron volts or
GeV GEV may refer to: * , a tabletop game by Steve Jackson Games * , in North Carolina, United States * , in Sweden * * , Israeli-South African motorcyclist * (GeV) * * * * Viya language {{disambiguation ...
), it is necessary to use a
synchrotron A synchrotron is a particular type of cyclic particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), Batavia, Illinois, USA. Shut down in 2011, until 2007 it was the most po ...

synchrotron
. This is an accelerator in which the particles are accelerated in a ring of constant radius. An immediate advantage over cyclotrons is that the magnetic field need only be present over the actual region of the particle orbits, which is much narrower than that of the ring. (The largest cyclotron built in the US had a magnet pole, whereas the diameter of synchrotrons such as the
LEP
LEP
and
LHC The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and highest-energy particle collider A collider is a type of particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) ...
is nearly 10 km. The aperture of the two beams of the LHC is of the order of a centimeter.) The LHC contains 16 RF cavities, 1232 superconducting dipole magnets for beam steering, and 24 quadrupoles for beam focusing. Pulling together: Superconducting electromagnets" CERN; https://home.cern/science/engineering/pulling-together-superconducting-electromagnets/ref> Even at this size, the LHC is limited by its ability to steer the particles without them going adrift. This limit is theorized to occur at 14TeV. Restarting the LHC: Why 13 Tev?" CERN; https://home.cern/science/engineering/restarting-lhc-why-13-tev/ref> However, since the particle momentum increases during acceleration, it is necessary to turn up the magnetic field B in proportion to maintain constant curvature of the orbit. In consequence, synchrotrons cannot accelerate particles continuously, as cyclotrons can, but must operate cyclically, supplying particles in bunches, which are delivered to a target or an external beam in beam "spills" typically every few seconds. Since high energy synchrotrons do most of their work on particles that are already traveling at nearly the speed of light ''c'', the time to complete one orbit of the ring is nearly constant, as is the frequency of the Cavity resonator, RF cavity resonators used to drive the acceleration. In modern synchrotrons, the beam aperture is small and the magnetic field does not cover the entire area of the particle orbit as it does for a cyclotron, so several necessary functions can be separated. Instead of one huge magnet, one has a line of hundreds of bending magnets, enclosing (or enclosed by) vacuum connecting pipes. The design of synchrotrons was revolutionized in the early 1950s with the discovery of the strong focusing concept. The focusing of the beam is handled independently by specialized quadrupole magnets, while the acceleration itself is accomplished in separate RF sections, rather similar to short linear accelerators. Also, there is no necessity that cyclic machines be circular, but rather the beam pipe may have straight sections between magnets where beams may collide, be cooled, etc. This has developed into an entire separate subject, called "beam physics" or "beam optics". More complex modern synchrotrons such as the Tevatron, , and LHC may deliver the particle bunches into storage rings of magnets with a constant magnetic field, where they can continue to orbit for long periods for experimentation or further acceleration. The highest-energy machines such as the Tevatron and LHC are actually accelerator complexes, with a cascade of specialized elements in series, including linear accelerators for initial beam creation, one or more low energy synchrotrons to reach intermediate energy, storage rings where beams can be accumulated or "cooled" (reducing the magnet aperture required and permitting tighter focusing; see Particle beam cooling, beam cooling), and a last large ring for final acceleration and experimentation.


=Electron synchrotrons

= Circular electron accelerators fell somewhat out of favor for particle physics around the time that SLAC's linear particle accelerator was constructed, because their synchrotron losses were considered economically prohibitive and because their beam intensity was lower than for the unpulsed linear machines. The Cornell Laboratory for Accelerator-based Sciences and Education, Cornell Electron Synchrotron, built at low cost in the late 1970s, was the first in a series of high-energy circular electron accelerators built for fundamental particle physics, the last being , built at CERN, which was used from 1989 until 2000. A large number of electron synchrotrons have been built in the past two decades, as part of
synchrotron light source A synchrotron light source is a source of electromagnetic radiation (EM) usually produced by a storage ring, for scientific and technical purposes. First observed in synchrotrons, synchrotron light is now produced by storage rings and other sp ...
s that emit ultraviolet light and X rays; see below.


Storage rings

For some applications, it is useful to store beams of high energy particles for some time (with modern high
vacuum A vacuum is a space Space is the boundless three-dimensional Three-dimensional space (also: 3-space or, rarely, tri-dimensional space) is a geometric setting in which three values (called parameter A parameter (from the Ancient Gr ...

vacuum
technology, up to many hours) without further acceleration. This is especially true for collider, colliding beam accelerators, in which two beams moving in opposite directions are made to collide with each other, with a large gain in effective Available energy (particle collision), collision energy. Because relatively few collisions occur at each pass through the intersection point of the two beams, it is customary to first accelerate the beams to the desired energy, and then store them in storage rings, which are essentially synchrotron rings of magnets, with no significant RF power for acceleration.


Synchrotron radiation sources

Some circular accelerators have been built to deliberately generate radiation (called
synchrotron light Synchrotron radiation (also known as magnetobremsstrahlung radiation) is the electromagnetic radiation emitted when Theory of relativity, relativistic charged particles are subject to an acceleration perpendicular to their velocity (). It is produ ...
) as
X-rays An X-ray, or, much less commonly, X-radiation, is a penetrating form of high-energy electromagnetic radiation In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Moti ...

X-rays
also called synchrotron radiation, for example the Diamond Light Source which has been built at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in England or the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, USA. High-energy X-rays are useful for X-ray spectroscopy of proteins or X-ray absorption fine structure (XAFS), for example. Synchrotron radiation is more powerfully emitted by lighter particles, so these accelerators are invariably
electron The electron is a subatomic particle (denoted by the symbol or ) whose electric charge is negative one elementary charge. Electrons belong to the first generation (particle physics), generation of the lepton particle family, and are general ...

electron
accelerators. Synchrotron radiation allows for better imaging as researched and developed at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, SLAC's SPEAR.


Fixed-Field Alternating Gradient Accelerators

Fixed-Field alternating gradient Accelerator, Fixed-Field Alternating Gradient accelerators (FFA)s, in which a magnetic field which is fixed in time, but with a radial variation to achieve strong focusing, allows the beam to be accelerated with a high repetition rate but in a much smaller radial spread than in the cyclotron case. Isochronous FFAs, like isochronous cyclotrons, achieve continuous beam operation, but without the need for a huge dipole bending magnet covering the entire radius of the orbits. Some new developments in FFAs are covered in.


History

Ernest Lawrence's first cyclotron was a mere 4 inches (100 mm) in diameter. Later, in 1939, he built a machine with a 60-inch diameter pole face, and planned one with a List of accelerators in particle physics, 184-inch diameter in 1942, which was, however, taken over for World War II-related work connected with uranium isotope separation; after the war it continued in service for research and medicine over many years. The first large proton
synchrotron A synchrotron is a particular type of cyclic particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), Batavia, Illinois, USA. Shut down in 2011, until 2007 it was the most po ...

synchrotron
was the Cosmotron at
Brookhaven National Laboratory Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) is a United States Department of Energy national laboratories, United States Department of Energy national laboratory located in Upton, New York, on Long Island, and was formally established in 1947 at the sit ...
, which accelerated protons to about 3 
GeV GEV may refer to: * , a tabletop game by Steve Jackson Games * , in North Carolina, United States * , in Sweden * * , Israeli-South African motorcyclist * (GeV) * * * * Viya language {{disambiguation ...
(1953–1968). The Bevatron at Berkeley, completed in 1954, was specifically designed to accelerate protons to sufficient energy to create antiprotons, and verify the antimatter, particle-antiparticle symmetry of nature, then only theorized. The Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS) at Brookhaven (1960–) was the first large synchrotron with alternating gradient, "strong focusing" magnets, which greatly reduced the required aperture of the beam, and correspondingly the size and cost of the bending magnets. The Proton Synchrotron, built at
CERN The European Organization for Nuclear Research (french: Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire), known as CERN (; ; derived from the name ), is a European research organization that operates the largest particle physics laborat ...
(1959–), was the first major European particle accelerator and generally similar to the AGS. The Stanford Linear Accelerator, SLAC, became operational in 1966, accelerating electrons to 30 GeV in a 3 km long waveguide, buried in a tunnel and powered by hundreds of large
klystron A klystron is a specialized linear-beam vacuum tube A vacuum tube, electron tube, valve (British usage), or tube (North America), is a device that controls electric current An electric current is a stream of charged particles, such as e ...

klystron
s. It is still the largest linear accelerator in existence, and has been upgraded with the addition of storage rings and an electron-positron collider facility. It is also an X-ray and UV synchrotron photon source. The Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Fermilab
Tevatron The Tevatron was a circular particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), Batavia, Illinois, USA. Shut down in 2011, until 2007 it was the most powerful particle ac ...
has a ring with a beam path of . It has received several upgrades, and has functioned as a proton-antiproton collider until it was shut down due to budget cuts on September 30, 2011. The largest circular accelerator ever built was the Large Electron–Positron Collider, LEP
synchrotron A synchrotron is a particular type of cyclic particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), Batavia, Illinois, USA. Shut down in 2011, until 2007 it was the most po ...

synchrotron
at CERN with a circumference 26.6 kilometers, which was an electron/
positron The positron or antielectron is the antiparticle s (left) and antiparticles (right). From top to bottom; electron The electron is a subatomic particle In physical sciences, subatomic particles are smaller than atom An atom is ...

positron
collider. It achieved an energy of 209 GeV before it was dismantled in 2000 so that the tunnel could be used for the
Large Hadron Collider The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and highest-energy particle collider A collider is a type of particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) ...
(LHC). The LHC is a proton collider, and currently the world's largest and highest-energy accelerator, achieving 6.5 TeV energy per beam (13 TeV in total). The aborted Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) in Texas would have had a circumference of 87 km. Construction was started in 1991, but abandoned in 1993. Very large circular accelerators are invariably built in tunnels a few metres wide to minimize the disruption and cost of building such a structure on the surface, and to provide shielding against intense secondary radiations that occur, which are extremely penetrating at high energies. Current accelerators such as the Spallation Neutron Source, incorporate superconducting cryomodules. The
Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC ) is the first and one of only two operating heavy- ion collider A collider is a type of particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory ...
, and
Large Hadron Collider The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and highest-energy particle collider A collider is a type of particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) ...
also make use of superconductivity, superconducting magnets and Cavity resonator, RF cavity resonators to accelerate particles.


Targets

The output of a particle accelerator can generally be directed towards multiple lines of experiments, one at a given time, by means of a deviating
electromagnet An electromagnet is a type of magnet A magnet is a material or object that produces a magnetic field A magnetic field is a vector field In vector calculus and physics, a vector field is an assignment of a vector to each poin ...

electromagnet
. This makes it possible to operate multiple experiments without needing to move things around or shutting down the entire accelerator beam. Except for synchrotron radiation sources, the purpose of an accelerator is to generate high-energy particles for interaction with matter. This is usually a fixed target, such as the phosphor coating on the back of the screen in the case of a television tube; a piece of uranium in an accelerator designed as a neutron source; or a tungsten target for an X-ray generator. In a linac, the target is simply fitted to the end of the accelerator. The particle track in a cyclotron is a spiral outwards from the centre of the circular machine, so the accelerated particles emerge from a fixed point as for a linear accelerator. For synchrotrons, the situation is more complex. Particles are accelerated to the desired energy. Then, a fast acting dipole magnet is used to switch the particles out of the circular synchrotron tube and towards the target. A variation commonly used for
particle physics Particle physics (also known as high energy physics) is a branch of physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which rel ...
research is a
collider A collider is a type of particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), Batavia, Illinois, USA. Shut down in 2011, until 2007 it was the most powerful particle acceler ...
, also called a ''storage ring collider''. Two circular synchrotrons are built in close proximityusually on top of each other and using the same magnets (which are then of more complicated design to accommodate both beam tubes). Bunches of particles travel in opposite directions around the two accelerators and collide at intersections between them. This can increase the energy enormously; whereas in a fixed-target experiment the energy available to produce new particles is proportional to the square root of the beam energy, in a collider the available energy is linear.


Detectors


Higher energies

At present the highest energy accelerators are all circular colliders, but both hadron accelerators and electron accelerators are running into limits. Higher energy hadron and ion cyclic accelerators will require accelerator tunnels of larger physical size due to the increased Rigidity (electromagnetism), beam rigidity. For cyclic electron accelerators, a limit on practical bend radius is placed by synchrotron radiation losses and the next generation will probably be linear accelerators 10 times the current length. An example of such a next generation electron accelerator is the proposed 40 km long International Linear Collider. It is believed that plasma acceleration, plasma wakefield acceleration in the form of electron-beam "afterburners" and standalone laser pulsers might be able to provide dramatic increases in efficiency over RF accelerators within two to three decades. In plasma wakefield accelerators, the beam cavity is filled with a plasma (rather than vacuum). A short pulse of electrons or laser light either constitutes or immediately precedes the particles that are being accelerated. The pulse disrupts the plasma, causing the charged particles in the plasma to integrate into and move toward the rear of the bunch of particles that are being accelerated. This process transfers energy to the particle bunch, accelerating it further, and continues as long as the pulse is coherent. Energy gradients as steep as 200 GeV/m have been achieved over millimeter-scale distances using laser pulsers and gradients approaching 1 GeV/m are being produced on the multi-centimeter-scale with electron-beam systems, in contrast to a limit of about 0.1 GeV/m for radio-frequency acceleration alone. Existing electron accelerators such as SLAC could use electron-beam afterburners to greatly increase the energy of their particle beams, at the cost of beam intensity. Electron systems in general can provide tightly collimated, reliable beams; laser systems may offer more power and compactness. Thus, plasma wakefield accelerators could be used – if technical issues can be resolved – to both increase the maximum energy of the largest accelerators and to bring high energies into university laboratories and medical centres. Higher than 0.25 GeV/m gradients have been achieved by a dielectric laser accelerator, which may present another viable approach to building compact high-energy accelerators. Using femtosecond duration laser pulses, an electron accelerating gradient 0.69 Gev/m was recorded for dielectric laser accelerators. Higher gradients of the order of 1 to 6 GeV/m are anticipated after further optimizations.


Black hole production and public safety concerns

In the future, the possibility of a black hole production at the highest energy accelerators may arise if certain predictions of superstring theory are accurate. This and other possibilities have led to Safety of particle collisions at the Large Hadron Collider, public safety concerns that have been widely reported in connection with the LHC, which began operation in 2008. The various possible dangerous scenarios have been assessed as presenting "no conceivable danger" in the latest risk assessment produced by the LHC Safety Assessment Group. If black holes are produced, it is theoretically predicted that such small black holes should evaporate extremely quickly via Bekenstein-Hawking radiation, but which is as yet experimentally unconfirmed. If colliders can produce black holes, cosmic rays (and particularly ultra-high-energy cosmic rays, UHECRs) must have been producing them for eons, but they have yet to harm anybody. It has been argued that to conserve energy and momentum, any black holes created in a collision between an UHECR and local matter would necessarily be produced moving at relativistic speed with respect to the Earth, and should escape into space, as their accretion and growth rate should be very slow, while black holes produced in colliders (with components of equal mass) would have some chance of having a velocity less than Earth escape velocity, 11.2 km per sec, and would be liable to capture and subsequent growth. Yet even on such scenarios the collisions of UHECRs with white dwarfs and neutron stars would lead to their rapid destruction, but these bodies are observed to be common astronomical objects. Thus if stable micro black holes should be produced, they must grow far too slowly to cause any noticeable macroscopic effects within the natural lifetime of the solar system.


Accelerator operator

The use of advanced technologies such as superconductivity, cryogenics, and high powered radiofrequency amplifiers, as well as the presence of ionizing radiation, pose challenges for the safe operation of accelerator facilities. An accelerator operator controls the operation of a particle accelerator, adjusts operating parameters such as aspect ratio, current intensity, and position on target. They communicate with and assist accelerator maintenance personnel to ensure readiness of support systems, such as
vacuum A vacuum is a space Space is the boundless three-dimensional Three-dimensional space (also: 3-space or, rarely, tri-dimensional space) is a geometric setting in which three values (called parameter A parameter (from the Ancient Gr ...

vacuum
, magnets, magnetic and radiofrequency power supplies and controls, and cooling systems. Additionally, the accelerator operator maintains a record of accelerator related events.


See also

*Accelerator physics *Atom smasher (disambiguation) *Compact Linear Collider *Dielectric wall accelerator *Future Circular Collider *International Linear Collider *Linear particle accelerator *List of accelerators in particle physics *Momentum compaction *Nuclear transmutation *
Rolf Widerøe Rolf Widerøe (11 July 1902 – 11 October 1996) was a Norway, Norwegian accelerator physics, accelerator physicist who was the originator of many particle accelerator, particle acceleration concepts, including the ''resonance accelerator'' and th ...
*Superconducting Super Collider


References


External links


What are particle accelerators used for?
* Stanley Humphries (1999



* Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky
The Evolution of Particle Accelerators & Colliders
(PDF), Stanford, 1997 * P.J. Bryant
A Brief History and Review of Accelerators
(PDF),
CERN The European Organization for Nuclear Research (french: Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire), known as CERN (; ; derived from the name ), is a European research organization that operates the largest particle physics laborat ...
, 1994. * * David Kestenbaum
Massive Particle Accelerator Revving Up
NPR's Morning Edition article on 9 April 2007 *
Annotated bibliography for particle accelerators from the Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues

Accelerators-for-Society.org
to know more about applications of accelerators for Research and Development, energy and environment, health and medicine, industry, material characterization. {{DEFAULTSORT:Particle Accelerator Particle accelerators,