Stanford researchers create miniaturized particle accelerator using infrared light

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,912   +125
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Traditional particle accelerators utilize microwave bursts to help nudge electrons along. Microwaves measure four inches from peak to trough – far too long for their new accelerator. Instead, the team opted to use infrared light which has a wavelength of just one-tenth the width of a human hair. The reduced wavelength allows electrons to be accelerated in far shorter distances but also means that other aspects of the accelerator must be made to scale – 100,000 times smaller than the structures used in traditional accelerators.

To get there, Stanford engineers used inverse design algorithms which essentially allowed them to work backward, specifying how much light energy they wanted the chip to make. This, in turn, helped guide the researchers in building the correct nanoscale structures to bring the photons into proper contact with the electrons.

As it stands, the prototype accelerator is only able to provide a single stage of acceleration; to be useful for research or medical purposes, electrons need to be accelerated to 95 percent of the speed of light. To get there with the current setup, electrons would need to go through another 1,000 of these stages to reach that level.

That may sound daunting but because the accelerator is a fully integrated circuit, increasing its capabilities shouldn’t be all that difficult. In fact, they expect to get there by the end of the year with a chip that’s no bigger than one inch in size.

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VitalyT

Posts: 5,347   +4,693
Why so many different bar-code stickers inside it? Was it made in China? :)

If they can increase the capacity to that of the big one, they will be able to produce and sell anti-matter by the kilo :), which is handy, as 1 kilo of anti-matter is enough to vaporize our entire solar system, and I've always wanted to do that :)
 
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Uncle Al

Posts: 7,981   +6,754
I just want to see them hook it up as an alternative propulsion system for my Rav4. That will PO the neighbor and his often broken down Tesla! LOL
 
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Yynxs

Posts: 542   +190
Down to a single 1-inch chip? Doesn't that mean I can create a handheld particle accelerator? hmmmm....
 

hk2000

Posts: 152   +79
How useful is suh acceleration if you need a 100,000 to approach the speed of light? Not much of breakthrough! Sounds like a publicity stunt, which is often the case with so-called breakthroughs.
 

mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,775   +1,015
How useful is suh acceleration if you need a 100,000 to approach the speed of light? Not much of breakthrough! Sounds like a publicity stunt, which is often the case with so-called breakthroughs.
...you seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of what needs to be achieved. Think of it like sanding a table tabletop. They've finished with the 80 grit, now its just 100,000 more grit levls to go through before they can say the project up to current standards.

They can successfully run the electrons through one stage of acceleration; they've proven the concept works. Now they just need to build the additional stages of acceleration, using the same method they just proved, to achieve the desired velocities.
 

Markoni35

Posts: 913   +369
"To get there with the current setup, electrons would need to go through another 1,000 of these stages to reach that level."

So, it's not accelerating them a lot? Like 1/1000th of any useful level. How fast are electrons after this single-stage acceleration? 10x faster than a turtle?
 

Yynxs

Posts: 542   +190
"To get there with the current setup, electrons would need to go through another 1,000 of these stages to reach that level."

So, it's not accelerating them a lot? Like 1/1000th of any useful level. How fast are electrons after this single-stage acceleration? 10x faster than a turtle?
The next stage will be Donatelloration based and at least that.