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Synchrotron Radiation

Accelerators as Producers of High Energy "Light"


Charged particles emit light when they are bent in the accelerator. This high energy light can be used to explore and modify the surface structure of matter. Charged particles crossing a magnetic field are accelerated and therefore emit photons. This effect was first observed in synchrotron accelerators and was called synchrotron radiation. The sharper the bend and the larger the energy of the particle, the larger is the loss of energy due to synchrotron radiation. This is often a large problem when designing a very high energy accelerator. However, the synchrotron radiation is an excellent probe of the surface structures of matter and a tool in producing modern microelectronics. Now the annoying energy loss in circular accelerators has been developed into a dynamic field of research and technical development.


Energy loss

The energy loss in accelerators is proportional to
(E/m)4 1/R
If the energy E is increased with a factor 2 the energy loss increases with a factor 16.
An electron with a mass m almost 2000 times smaller than the proton radiates 16 1012 times more than a proton with the same energy.
With a doubled radius R the radiation will be halved.

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