HERA electron-proton collider
Barger, Vernon D. Department of Physics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin.
Last reviewed:February 2019
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The first, and so far only, electron-proton particle accelerator to have ever operated, and which studied the internal structure of protons. HERA (Hadron-Electron-Ring Accelerator), the largest research instrument in Germany, was located at DESY (Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron) in Hamburg (Fig. 1). Using electromagnets, it accelerated low-mass particles called electrons into collisions with heavier particles, called protons, inside a 3.9-mi (6.3-km) underground tunnel. The electrons, which have only 1/1836th the mass of the proton, served as probes of the inner structure of the much more massive protons. The accelerator ran from 1992 until 2007, though its data analysis continues to this day. See also: Electron; Elementary particle; Particle accelerator; Proton
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