Laser-Based Microchip Particle Accelerator Can Benefit Industry And Medicine

The Accelerator on a Chip International Program (AChIP) seeks to develop an electron accelerator on a silicon chip. The basic idea is to replace metal accelerator parts with glass or silicon. Accelerator-based endoscopes could help to irradiate tumors in the medical field.

Using the laser’s electromagnetic field, researchers now focus electrons within a 420 nm wide channel.

The concept is based on abrupt changes in the electron phase relative to the laser, resulting in alternating focusing and defocusing in two directions in the plane of the chip surface. Stability is created in both directions as a result of this.

Weaker focusing is perpendicular to the chip’s surface, and a single quadrupole magnet encompassing the entire chip can be used. This is similar to the concept of a traditional linear accelerator. However, for an accelerator on a chip, the electron dynamics have been changed to create a two-dimensional design that can be realized using semiconductor industry lithographic techniques.

Researchers hope to build an accelerator on a chip in a shoebox-sized experimental chamber. A commercially available system combined with nonlinear optics is used as a laser source. The AChIP program, funded until 2020, aims to generate electrons with 1 MeV energy from the chip. Another goal is to develop ultrashort (less than 10-15 s) electron pulses required by design for a scalable accelerator on a chip.

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