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High Energy Particle Accelerator On Chip

Recently there has been a quest among the researchers to make a large high energy particle accelerators. But the exactly opposite happened at the MEMS 2011 conference last week. In the conference held at Cancun Mexico, the researchers put forth their efforts to design a small particle accelerator.

[​IMG]Cyclotron is basically a particle accelerator that speeds up the electrons in a spiral path. The chip size cyclotron designed by the researchers can guide the Argon ions with an energy of 1.5 kiloelectronvolts. These are guided in a 5mm accelerating track before they are made to turn by 90 degrees.
The energy in the ions is boosted by 30 electron volts by this system which we all agree is not a great amount of energy. But then unlike the bigger accelerators, it does not require bulky magnet arrangement. An electric field is set up between the parallel electrode guide rails. It uses this field to steer the electrons. The designers at the Cornell University USA quoted that a similar electrostatic mini- accelerators can be used in a small size scanning electron microscope or in the portable particle ray guns for the treatment of cancer. The worlds largest particle accelerator “THE HADRON COLLIDER” slams the particles with an energy which is greater in orders of nine to ten times in magnitude than the one installed in the chip.

Yue Shi, an electrical and computer engineering graduate student who has developed the accelerator on a chip is of the opinion that this needs to be done because they need to know as to what is inside the nucleus. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has funded Yue Shi and she is designing an accelerator that is not bigger than a few square centimeter, yet it can accelerate the particles to several hundreds of keV. She is also working on a suit case size device capable of accelerating the particles to several mega eV. She has made three versions of accelerator.
1. Two on silicon-on-insulator (SOI ) chips
2. One on printed circuit board.

Each has a turning radius of 1, 2, or 4 mm and a segmented acceleration track. To start with the testing she forced the Argon ions with 1.5 keV  energy into the track. The 4 segmented tracks gave a boost to the ions before they turned. Another electric potential across the two electrodes made the particles to turn. Only those ions who got the right amount of energy made it to the end by which Shi confirmed that the particles had got a boost. Currently, the chip accelerates the ions from an Argon source with a 75 micrometer thick beam. In the process as the tracks are small, most of the particle beam is wasted. Looking at this problem she thinks of ionizing the atoms by using the on chip plasma which would provide 100 eV before they enter the electrostatic region.
Having achieved this, Shi wishes to design an accelerator which gives an energy of 1MeV which she says is not impossible.

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