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Laser-Based Microchip Particle Accelerator Can Benefit Industry And Medicine

If electron accelerators could be made small and cheap enough, not only would every university be able to afford its own accelerator laboratory, but inexpensive coherent x-ray beam sources for photolithographic processes in the semiconductor industry could be made available, which could reduce transistor size in computer processors and increase integration density. For medical use, accelerator-based endoscopes could be used to irradiate tumors deep within the body with electrons.

The Accelerator on a Chip International Program (AChIP), funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in the U.S., aims to create an electron accelerator on a silicon chip. The fundamental idea is to replace accelerator parts made of metal with glass or silicon, and to use a laser instead of a microwave generator as an energy source.

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