Particle Accelerator Physics Laboratory

Engines of Discovery

Particle accelerators play an important role in high energy physics, materials and life sciences. They are used to create a very special state of matter — beams of particles (protons, electrons, photons, neutrons, muons, neutrinos etc.). Medical applications of accelerators include radiotherapy, production of radioactive isotopes, hadron therapy and bio-imaging.

A beam of the right particles with the right energy at the right intensity can shrink a tumor, produce cleaner energy, spot suspicious cargo, make a better radial tire, clean up dirty drinking water, map a protein, study a nuclear explosion, design a new drug, make a heat-resistant automotive cable, diagnose a disease, reduce nuclear waste, detect an art forgery, implant ions in a semiconductor, prospect for oil, date an archaeological find, package a Thanksgiving turkey or discover the secrets of the universe.

US Department of Energy, 2010

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