News / Science & Technology

New Research Could Lead to Particle Accelerator on a Chip

Particle accelerator on a nanostructured glass chip is smaller than a grain of rice. (Brad Plummer/Stanford University)Particle accelerator on a nanostructured glass chip is smaller than a grain of rice. (Brad Plummer/Stanford University)
x
Particle accelerator on a nanostructured glass chip is smaller than a grain of rice. (Brad Plummer/Stanford University)
Particle accelerator on a nanostructured glass chip is smaller than a grain of rice. (Brad Plummer/Stanford University)
Rick Pantaleo
Scientists from Stanford University and the U.S. Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory say they’ve developed an innovation that could lead to particle accelerators the size of a computer chip, a development that could have far-reaching implications for science and medicine.
 
When many think about a particle accelerator device, they may think of units such as CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland. The LHC is enormous - a tunnel 27 kilometers in circumference sitting 175 meters underground. Writing in Nature, the researchers said they used a laser rather than microwaves to accelerate electrons in a nanostructured glass chip smaller than a grain of rice. The scientists said they were able speed up those electrons at a rate 10 times higher than its possible using current conventional technology.
 
"We still have a number of challenges before this technology becomes practical for real-world use, but eventually it would substantially reduce the size and cost of future high-energy particle colliders for exploring the world of fundamental particles and forces," said Joel England, the SLAC physicist who led the experiments.
 
The findings could lead to miniature, compact accelerators as well x-ray devices that could be used in a variety of applications such as security scanning, medical imaging for hospitals, materials science and biology research. The innovation could also lead to medical treatment such as particle therapy that uses accelerated protons, neutrons, or positive ions to treat cancer or improve medical care for people injured in combat.
 
Not only would the new micro-accelerators be a lot smaller is size, said the scientists, the technology could also be cost effective since commercial lasers could be used and low-cost, mass-production techniques could be employed in building the units.  The researchers think their findings could make way for new generations of "tabletop accelerators.”
 
However, the researchers have some fundamental issues they need to address first.
 
The SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory's linear particle accelerator consists of 3.22 kilometers of copper cavities. (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)The SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory's linear particle accelerator consists of 3.22 kilometers of copper cavities. (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)
x
The SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory's linear particle accelerator consists of 3.22 kilometers of copper cavities. (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)
The SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory's linear particle accelerator consists of 3.22 kilometers of copper cavities. (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)
To conduct their “accelerator-on-a-chip” experiments, the scientists first had to speed up electrons to near the speed of light by using a conventional accelerator such as SLAC's 3.22 kilometer-long linear accelerator in California.  After getting up to light-speed, the electrons were then focused into a tiny channel within a glass chip that’s only about a half-micron-high and a half millimeter long in size.
 
In order to create a real tabletop accelerator, the scientists say they will first need to come up with a much more compact device to get those electrons up to light-speed before they enter a small accelerator.
 
Once they can solve that problem, the scientists said their new mini-accelerator would not only be able to accelerate particles as powerfully as SLAC's large linear accelerator in just about 30 meters, but would be able to deliver a million more electron pulses per second as well. That could result in a unit that is not only as powerful as the mammoth accelerators, but perhaps even more so.

You May Like

Official: S. Sudan President, Rebel Leader to Meet in Tanzania

Talks part of effort to end conflict in country that has left more than 10,000 people dead, displaced more than 1.5 million others More

Dutch Deny Link to Mystery Submarine Off Sweden

Netherlands denies Russian claim that 'foreign vessel' photographed in waters off Sweden could be Dutch More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Kirk W. Fraser from: Clatskanie
October 08, 2013 1:18 AM
Since the piece of glass accelerates particles then it can be pumped by more of them in earlier stages.


by: Richard from: Orrville OH
October 07, 2013 8:25 PM
Nature can be used as an accelerator, attach a particle to light photons that move at light speed.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Lawi
X
William Ide
October 20, 2014 10:23 AM
China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Nigeria Agrees to Cease-Fire With Boko Haram

Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have agreed to a cease-fire. The Nigerian government issued an order Friday, telling all military chiefs "to comply with the cease-fire agreement in all theaters of operations. Why now and the significance of the agreement are questions on some people’s minds. VOA's Mariama Diallo reports.
Video

Video Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

The offensive by Islamic State militants against the northern Syrian city of Kobani has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to Turkey. They receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from the town of Suruc a few kilometers from the border.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.

All About America

AppleAndroid