One day, powerful particle accelerators might fit in your pocket.
Two teams of physicists have built tiny structures that both accelerate electrons and keep them confined in a manageable beam, instead of spewing them willy-nilly. That’s a first for such mini accelerators, and a crucial step toward making these devices more useful and widespread.
“One of the main problems with particle accelerators … is that they’re too big and they’re too expensive,” says physicist Jared Maxson of Cornell University, who was not involved with the new research. Miniaturizing the devices means scientists could make high-energy electrons on a tabletop, Maxson says. That could open up new possibilities for medicine
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