Physicists Go Small: Let's Put A Particle Accelerator On A Chip

A tiny accelerator could be useful in medicine as well as basic science. Instead of speeding up beams of electrons through giant tunnels, the aim here is to build accelerators on semiconductor chips.
An early prototype of the silicon-chip-sized particle accelerator that physicists at Stanford are working on. Eventually, miniature accelerators might have a role in radiating tumors, the scientists say, though that's likely a decade or so away. Source: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

When people think of particle accelerators, they tend to think of giant structures: tunnels many miles long that electrons and protons race through at tremendous speeds, packing enormous energy.

But scientists in California think small is beautiful. They want to build an accelerator on semiconductor chips. An accelerator built that way won't achieve the energy of its much larger cousins, but it could accelerate material research and revolutionize medical

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