Why The Moore Foundation Is Betting on a Miniature Particle Accelerator
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Particle accelerators, those massive underground loops that probably come to mind, are instrumental in studying in fundamental physics. They’re also used in medical applications, tech manufacturing, and lots of other basic and applied research.
If you could shrink them down to something powerful that you could place on your desk, it would make them far more affordable and accessible, and open up new applications and experiments in a range of fields. That is a very big "if," for a very big machine, with some serious hurdles still in the way.
The quest to shrink the miles-long particle accelerator
Thursday, October 12, 2017
Dr. Peter Hommelhoff's group at FAU Erlangen have developed a new technique in which they intersect two laser beams that oscillate at different frequencies to produce an optical field that allows electrons to continuously surf on the optical field. In this way, the optical field transmits its properties precisely to the particles. Their work was published in Nature Physics.
About 15 months ago, The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation awarded US $13.5 million to a five-year project involving an international collection of universities and national labs to start work on shrinking particle accelerators so that they could fit on a chip. The project, dubbed “Accelerator on a Chip” could have a profound impact on both fundamental science research and medicine.
As the challenges of particle physics have become more and more complex, we've had to plan and build larger and larger machines to explore the tiny subatomic world. But now, an international group of physicists has developed a technology to miniaturize particle accelerators, which could revolutionize physics and the life sciences.
$13.5M awarded to Stanford University and collaborators to advance the science of particle accelerators
Thursday, November 19, 2015
PALO ALTO, Calif. November 19, 2015 — The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation awarded $13.5 million to Stanford University and its international partners to take an innovative particle accelerator design dubbed the “accelerator-on-a-chip” and make it into a fully functional and scalable working prototype.
Demonstration of electron acceleration in a laser-driven dielectric microstructure
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
The enormous size and cost of current state-of-the-art accelerators based on conventional radio-frequency technology has spawned great interest in the development of new acceleration concepts that are more compact and economical. Micro-fabricated dielectric laser accelerators (DLAs) are an attractive approach, because such dielectric microstructures can support accelerating fields one to two orders of magnitude higher than can radio-frequency cavity-based accelerators.
BIG science tends to get bigger with time. The first modern particle accelerator, Ernest Lawrence’s cyclotron, was 10cm across and thus fitted comfortably on a benchtop. It cost (admittedly at 1932 prices) $25. Its latest successor, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), has a diameter of 8.6km (5.3 miles) and does not even fit in one country: it straddles the border between France and Switzerland, near Geneva. It cost $5 billion. Clearly, this is a trend that cannot continue. And two groups of physicists, one American and one German, think they know how to stop it.