Syphers, Michael J. National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.
Wegner, Harvey E. Formerly, Physics Division, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York.
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- Classes of particle accelerator
- Electrostatic accelerators
- Time-varying field accelerators
- Architectures of particle accelerators
- Linear accelerators
- Circular accelerators
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
An electrical device that accelerates charged atomic or subatomic particles to high energies. Particle accelerators use electromagnetic fields to contain, guide, and propel into collisions with fixed targets or other rapidly moving particle beams. The collisions induce changes in the involved targets or in the accelerated particles themselves. For instance, one common use of particle accelerators is to shatter atoms or composite particle into smaller constituents, in turn offering insight into the properties of matter and nature’s fundamental forces (Fig. 1). Besides physics experiments, particle accelerators are used for an array of purposes including cancer treatment, medical diagnostics radioisotope generation, materials sciences, and industrial applications. See also: Electricity; Energy; Fundamental interactions; Matter (physics); Radioisotope
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