BEACON TRANSCRIPT- $13.5 million grant approved for tiny particle accelerator prototype. Scientists at the Stanford University will collaborate with multiple international associates in order to develop a particle accelerator the size of a shoebox by using a new technology known as an accelerator on a chip.
The new technique scientists will be using in order to create the tiny particle accelerator uses laser light in order to send electrons through a series of glass chips and could potentially revolutionize many scientific fields by significantly narrowing down the size and production cost of particle accelerators.
The new accelerator on a chip would help revolutionize particle accelerators in a similar fashion to how the microchip did for the computer industry according to Joel England, a physicist working on the 5-year project for SLAC at Stanford University. He explained that by reducing the size of particle accelerators the costs needed to produce them are also reduced, which could make them available to millions of people that currently have no access to them.
According to England, the applications for this new technology would be endless and very valuable for many scientific fields. Robert L. Byer, a professor of applied physics at Stanford and the co-principal investigator for the new project stated that the prototype could be the beginning of a new stage for what is to become a future generation of small accelerators which can then prompt new discoveries in fields such as biology and material science.
The new prototype could also provide valuable contributions to other areas such as security scanning, medical therapies of different kind and X-ray imaging. All of these fields could develop new technologies based on the new chip technology which the team is currently using to create the small-scale particle accelerator.
There has been a massive international effort to create what would be the first working prototype of this tiny accelerator. In the Stanford experiments the electrons were accelerated close to light speed in an SLAC accelerator testing facility and were proven to be accelerated close to their maximum speed.
The electrons then entered a chip and went through a microscopic tunnel with ridges in its walls. A laser light was shined on the chip in order interact with the ridges and produce and electrical field that would in turn increase the energy of the electrons that passed through.
If the team is successful in producing a working prototype the technology could significantly reduce the cost of particle accelerators and make them available for more scientific research.
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