Particle Accelerator

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A particle accelerator is a machine that propels charged particles to very high speed and energies by using electromagnetic fields. And contains them in well-defined beams. In the research of particle Physics, large accelerators are used. Large hadron collider is the largest operator currently operating in basic research work, it is near Geneva, Switzerland. It can accelerate two beams of protons to an energy of 6.5 TeV and it makes them collide in such a manner that it creates center-of-mass energy of 13 TeV. Some other powerful accelerators are listed here: SuperKEKB in Japan, Tevatron at Fermilab. 


For the study of considered matter in physics, synchrotron light source accelerators are used. There are a wide variety of applications in which they are used that are particle therapy for oncological purposes, for medical diagnosis- production of radioisotope, measurements of the rare isotope such as radiocarbon- accelerator mass spectrometer. In operation around the world currently, there are more than 30,000 accelerators.


Electrostatic and electrodynamic or electromagnetic are two basic classes of accelerators. Electrostatic accelerators are used in accelerating particles in static electric fields. On the other hand, the electrodynamic or electromagnetic accelerators use charging electromagnetic fields.


Types of Particle Accelerator

Particle accelerators are split into two types, oscillating field accelerators, and electrostatic accelerators. Electrostatic accelerators e.g. Cocacroft-Walton and Van de Graaff accelerators make use of electrostatic fields. Electrostatic fields do not change with time. The only disadvantage of using an electrostatic field is it needs a generation of large amounts of electric fields to accelerate particles. This disadvantage gave birth to another type of accelerator- the oscillating field accelerator. This type of oscillator needs an electric field to work that periodically changes with time. The use of an oscillating electric field allows high energy physicians to accelerate particles to high energies leading to many key discoveries.


The Van-de-Graaff and Cocacroft-Walton Accelerators:

These are two types of particle accelerators developed in the 1930s, the Cocacroft-Walton accelerator wad developed by John Cocacroft and Emest Walton at Cambridge, England and the Van-de-Graaff was developed by Robert van-de-Graaff while working as a postdoctoral researcher assistant in the U.S.A. Cocacroft and walton generated a voltage of 800,000 volts. The proton was then accelerated along an 8-foot vacuum tube, where they collided with the lithium target achieving first nuclear disintegration.

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Uses of Particle Accelerator

Physicists like playing and that ok if the toys they like were not useless. This is what, when people hear of the particle accelerators. Scientists are aware of hard work and feelings to raise awareness about the use of particle accelerators in daily life. From industry to energy supply and from health to security there are many fields beyond pure research in which accelerator related technology impacts everyone’s life in a positive manner. Particle accelerators are designed in such a manner so that they can propel particles through electromagnetic fields, and pack them into a beam. They have been built for science the first decade and can be circular, linear, or even small enough to hold on hands or at times too big or giant. There are thousands of particle accelerators all over the world, which allows scientists to learn about the building block of the matter.


The outcome of a particle accelerator is not just till that, there are many positive applications of particle accelerators. In medicine, the particles which are accelerated are used for treating cancer and killing its cells. Accelerators are also used in scanning inside containers and help in identifying dangerous weapons. They are used in many more things like in treating wastewaters, the creation of new materials, sterilization of medical equipment, and pollution monitoring.


Applications of Particle Accelerator

There are few researched applications of a particle accelerator in practical physics: The development of particle physics has directly been determined by the progress seen in building accelerators of increasing energies. Examples are the discovery of the antiproton, in the mid-fifties. The discovery of two neutrons in the early sixties. In about forty years the colliders and accelerators have allowed us to gain three orders of magnitude. HERA- a new facility for probing using electron hadron has been commissioned in Hamsbug. 


Particle Accelerators Use in Nuclear Physics:

They are the essential tools through which physics has discovered the nucleus determined it’s structure and individual nuclei. It depends upon the property of the interest that one is using electrons, protons, and heavy electric beams. The increase in intensity and energy is also opening new opportunities. Early nuclear physics was devoted to studying the structures of individual nuclei, their associated states, and excited states. 


Cosmology and Astrophysics: these are now becoming more complimentary for telescopes, our universe originated in a hot big bang, the increasing energy of colliders and accelerators, with decreasing temperature allows the physicists to study the process closely about the origin of the universe. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What is the Speed of Particles in a Particle Accelerator?

Ans: A particle accelerator can rotate a very small and light-weighted particle. Particles speed up to nearly the speed of light in the modern particle accelerators. For example, the fermi national accelerator which is the main injector accelerates protons to 0.99997 times the speed of light.

Q2. Where is the World’s Largest Particle Accelerator Situated?

Ans: The largest particle accelerator in the world is the large hadron collider (LHD).

It is so far the most powerful accelerator built to date. The LHC is now operating at an energy that is seven times higher than any previous machine. It is based on the European particle physics lab, near Geneva in Switzerland.

Q3. Who is the Inventor of the Particle Accelerator?

Ans: In the year 1930, Ernest Lawrence created the first circular particle accelerator at the University of California. With the graduate student M. Stanley Livingston. He was inspired by the idea of Norwegian engineer- Rolf Windero. At the time of this discovery, Lawrence was 27 years old. 

Q4. Which Particle Accelerator was the First Accelerator?

Ans: The operational circular accelerators were known as the cyclotrons. Invented in 1930, by Ernest Lawrence at the Californias university, cyclotrons consist of a single pair of hollow ‘D’ shaped plates to accelerate the particle. It has a single large dipole magnet to bend its path into a circular orbit.