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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid