Future particle accelerators will be highly energy efficient

December 17th, 2008 - 4:15 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 17 (IANS) Vast energy recovery on ALICE advanced particle accelerator design, achieved by scientists, potentially opens the way for newer versions that will only use a fraction of the energy. “Energy recovery means a massive saving of power or alternatively, for the same power usage, light sources and colliders of unprecedented power and intensity,” informed Susan Smith, who heads the Accelerator Physics Group at Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Daresbury Lab.

At 2 a.m. on Dec 13, ALICE’s superconducting linear accelerator accelerated electrons to 99.9 percent of the speed of light, creating a beam with a total energy of 11 million electron volts.

This was the first time the ALICE beam had been successfully transported around the entire circuit, according to STFC release.

ALICE is operated by the STFC at its Daresbury Lab in Cheshire. It is also the first accelerator in Europe to use the energy recovery process which captures and re-uses the initial beam energy after each circuit.

At the end of the circuit, rather than throwing out the used beam of high-energy electrons, its energy is extracted for continued use before being safely discarded at an extremely low energy.

“Once fully commissioned, ALICE will accelerate to 35 million volts, electrons will be sent round the accelerator at 99.99 percent of the speed of light and 99.9 percent of the power at the final accelerator stage will be recovered, making the power sources for the acceleration drastically smaller and cheaper and, therefore, economically viable,” said Smith.

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