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A Technical. Synchrotron. Written By: Diana Russella. Description. What is a Synchrotron?. [, 2009]. This device is a cyclic particle accelerator that uses powerful magnets and radio frequency waves to accelerate charged particles close to the speed of light.

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A Technical


Written By:

Diana Russella





a Synchrotron?

[, 2009]

This device is a cyclic particle accelerator that uses powerful magnets and radio frequency waves to accelerate charged particles close to the speed of light.

The purpose of a synchrotron is to examine particles at a sub-atomic level in order to gain insight into the dynamics and structure of matter, space, and time.


[, 2009]

Areal view of CERN’s proton synchrotron in Switzerland



is a Synchrotron Found?


The world’s highest energy particle collider in the world is located at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois.

Called the Tevatron, this synchrotron has a circumference of 474 meters (1,555 ft) and accelerates protons and antiprotons up to energies of 1 TeV. This is only 200 miles slower than the speed of light.

How big is a Synchrotron ?

[, 2009]


(1) Electron gun (2) LINAC (3) Booster ring (4) Storage ring (5) Beamline

 (6) End station

Structure of a Synchrotron

[, 2009]


Electron gun

In the first phase of accelerating a particle, a transformer feeds approximately 220 kilovolts DC  (compare with a  car's battery's 12 volts) of electricity through a cathode causing electrons to boil off the surface. As electricity flows through the disk, the disk gets heated to about 1000oC the temperature that electrons are released.

A screen near the bottom is given a short, strong positive charge 125 times per second, which pulls the electrons, away from the disk.

This procedure can is comparable to that found in a television picture tube.

Structure of a Synchrotron


(2) Linear Accelerator (LINAC)

The Electron Gun feeds into the LINAC. Microwave radio frequency is used to provide energy to accelerate or “push” the electrons to almost the speed of light (3x108 m/s). These electrons travel in a vacuum, pressured at lower than 133 Pa to avoid collisions with atoms and molecules.

Fun Fact: Because such a low pressure

vacuum is utilized, there are fewer

molecules in the vacuum than in the

space surrounding the

International Space Station!

[ , 2009]


(3) Booster Ring

The accelerated electrons from the LINAC are injected into the Booster Ring, where they receive a “boost” of energy. Microwaves are again utilized to raise the energy from 250 MeV to somewhere between 2.9 to 6 GeV.

Note: An eV or electron volt is equal to the amount of kinetic energy gained by a single unbound electron when it accelerates through an electrostatic potential difference of one volt.

1 eV = 1 V * electron charge (1.602177 *10-19 C)

There are two types of magnets used in this phase: blue diple magnets and green quadruple magnets. The blue magnets direct the electrons around the booster ring. The green magnets produce a magnetic field forces the electrons into a fine beam within the vacuum chamber.


(4) Storage Ring

Once the electrons receive enough energy from the booster ring to produce light, they are injected into what is called the storage ring. Although it appears circular, the storage ring is composed of a series of 12 straight sections. The electrons will circulate here for four to twelve hours. During this time, they will produce photons every time their direction of flow is altered by a dipole magnet to travel to another section. The photons, or light, that they produced in that section will travel through a photon port and down beamlines to the research station.

[www., 2009]


(5&6) Beamline and End Station

The beamline carries the synchrotron radiation to an experimental end station. A typical beamline will range from 25 to 100 m long. Each beamline has three cabins (end stations) that house its elements. There is the optics cabin, the experimental cabin and the control cabin. The optics cabin tailors the type of radiation to have the appropriate characteristics for the experiment. The experimental cabin contains the environment and any necessary tools to execute the study. The controls cabin allows researchers to control the experiments and collect the resulting data.


End Station

[, 2009]


Medical Studies

- Studies of lung function and development are assisting the development of better asthma treatments and improved clinical practice options for neonatal care

  • Materials science applications
  • The study of membranes for use in advanced fuel cells
  • Investigation by micro-CT (computer tomography) of micro and nano-structured devices for use in automotive applications
  • Examination of advanced materials during and after exposure to mechanical and environmental stresses
  • Crystallography: studying the formation and structure of crystals

Examples of Synchrotron X-Ray Imaging Applications

  • Geoscience applications
  • characterization of CO2 sequestration performance and investigation by micro-CT of porosity in oil-bearing rocks and oil release rates from