Define Synchrotron

The term synchrotron comes from physics. A synchrotron is a cyclotron where the strength of the magnetic field increases with the particles' energy to keep their orbital radius constant. A synchrotron is a machine about the size of a football field, which accelerates electrons to almost the speed of light. While the electrons are deflected through magnetic fields, they emit incredibly bright light. The light is channeled down beamlines to experimental workstations where it is used for research work. Synchrotrons can accelerate beams of protons to an energy of 6.5 teraelectronvolts(or TeV). The principle was invented by Vladimir Veksler in 1944.

How Does Synchrotron Work?

A synchrotron is a fundamental principle of physics, that when charged particles are accelerated, they give off electromagnetic radiation. It is a potent source of X-rays. As the X-rays circulate the synchrotron, they are produced by high energy electrons. An everyday example of this effect is the radio-transmitter in which the electrons in the transmitter mast; here, the accelerations are such that the radiation produced is in the ratio-frequency range. The most common synchronous also uses electrons through their speed and acceleration is such that they produce electromagnetic radiation that is not only in the radio-frequency range but also present in the infra-red, ultra-violet, visible and X-ray portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Particles are generated in an electron gun, mostly like the cathode ray tubes found in old TV sets. They are then stimulated up to very high speeds through a series of three particle accelerators. These are called the linac, or linear accelerator, the booster synchrotron, and the large storage ring. 

The storage ring is not a right circle, but a polygon made of straight sections angles together with bending magnets. These bending magnets or dipole magnets are used to steer the electrons around the ring. As the electron goes through each magnet, it loses energy in the form of light. This light can then be channeled out of the storage ring wall and into the experimental stations called beamlines. 

Third generation synchrotrons such as diamonds also use individual arrays of magnets called insertion devices placed in the straight sections of the ring. These cause the electrons to follow intense and tuneable light.

Electron Synchrotron

Electron synchrotron is a type of synchrotron designed to accelerate electrons to high energies. The electron synchrotron was invented in 1945 in the USA. It is a particular application of their general principle of phase stability. High energy physics at Bonn started in 1953 when it was decided to build a 500 MeV electron synchrotron. The largest electron synchrotrons which are used in particle physics research, operate as colliding-beam storage rings. At CERN, the Large Electron-Positron collider was initially designed to accelerate electrons and positrons to 50 GeV and later to about 100 GeV in a ring with a 27 km circumference. Another way of reducing the energy used in an electron synchrotron is to employ superconducting radio-frequency accelerating cavities.

(Image to be added soon)

Difference Between Cyclotron And Synchrotron

The differences between cyclotron and synchrotron are: A cyclotron accelerates the particles in a spiral since the magnetic field is constant. The synchrotron adjusts the magnetic field such that the particles are kept in a circular orbit. A cyclotron is a cylindrical or spherical chamber, whereas synchrotron is a torus-shaped tube. Cyclotron produces continuous and unpulsed beams while synchrotrons produce discontinuous beams. Cyclotrons have high accuracy magnetic fields, whereas synchrotrons have a natural correction of the beam because of ample space between electromagnets. Cyclotrons can fit in a tiny place while synchrotrons require ample space.

Solved Examples

Question: How much does a synchrotron cost?

Answer: Synchrotrons are essential for cutting-edge research. They are the large machines, costing tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to build, and each beamline costs another two or three million dollars on average.

Fun Facts

The vacuum created inside the synchrotron is at the level of 10-11 bar, meaning that in 1cm3, there are about 100 00 particles of gas. The linear accelerator in the synchrotron is 40 meters long and weighs about w3 tons. One of the magnets from the vacuum chamber weighs about 8 tons. This is important in medical imaging. The circumference of the synchrotron's ring is 96 m.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How Does The Technology Of Synchrotron Advantages Science?

A synchrotron produces extremely bright and focused light or radiation stretching from the infrared to the hard X-ray region. This makes it a versatile facility that can be used for many other techniques. The intense flux means that researchers can study very small or dilute amounts of material, and to take measurements in a shorter amount of time than with conventional laboratory instruments. In many cases, this means one can observe processes as they happen in real-time. Many of the everyday stuff we consume from chocolate to cosmetics, from revolutionary drugs to surgical tools, have been improved or developed using synchrotron light.

2. What Are The Principal Structures Of Synchrotron?

Electron gun, linear accelerator, booster ring, storage ring, beamline, and end station are the structural features of an electron synchrotron.

Electron Gun: A heated cathode creates free electrons pulled through a hole at the end of the gun.

Linear Accelerator: The linear accelerator is used for the preliminary acceleration of electrons up to energies of 50 to 100kev.

Booster Ring: The linear accelerator feeds into the booster ring, which uses a magnetic field to force the electrons to travel in a circle.

Beamline: After the beam of light is generated in the storage ring, it travels toward the experimental station.

Endstation: After traveling through the beamline, the radiation can finally be used in the various experiments.