Scientists unveil Revolutionary Particle Accelerator using Waves of Plasma
According to scientists from Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and University of California, they have discovered a technique that can speed up particles on waves of plasma. The technique could be efficient to power a new generation of shorter and more economical particle accelerators.
As per the scientists, the new system could help them in making small and powerful particle colliders. These tiny colliders would be able to fit on any university campus. The new theory is a milestone in demonstrating the practicality of plasma wakefield acceleration, which is a system where electrons gain energy by surfing on a wave of electrons.
The results described in Nature could be helpful in fields such as industry, medicine, high-energy physics research and national security.
According to SLAC accelerator physicist, Mike Litos, who is also lead author of the discovery, some of the practical aspects of an accelerator can be determined by knowing that how quickly the particles can be accelerated. Litos further said, "To put these results in context, we have now shown that we could use this technique to accelerate an electron beam to the same energies achieved in the 2-mile-long SLAC linear accelerator, in less than 20 feet".
A structure called 'rf cavity' is used by today's accelerators. The 'rf cavity' is a box through which beam of a particle passes. It is responsible for transferring electromagnetic energy into the kinetic energy of particles. Limitation of the cavity is that it can transfer only a limited amount of energy to particles.
To overcome the problem, scientists decided to use many cavities in a straight line. They decided to use the cavities in a line in the case of a linear machine such as the SLAC. If the machine is LHC, the scientists used the same cavity many times.
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