Wednesday, November 05, 2014

SLAC, Nature: progress in plasma accelerators

A SLAC-UCLA collaboration has published a potentially important experimental paper in Nature:
Researchers hit milestone in accelerating particles with plasma (SLAC press release)

High-efficiency acceleration of an electron beam in a plasma wakefield accelerator (Litos et al., Nature)
Future plasma wakefield accelerators with the same final energy may be up to 500 times smaller than the existing accelerators. What's the catch?

The bunches of electrons are accelerated by some waves in plasma. We need many electrons to get a lot of energy; with a great efficiency; to achieve a uniform energy and move in the same direction etc.

So far, the experiments would heavily fail at least in one of the criteria. But the newest experiment managed to achieve all of the virtues, roughly speaking.

To make the progress even more applicable as a replacement of LHC-like accelerators, one needs even more constant energy etc. See the articles above for details.


  1. Not too far from giving a cheapish Higgs factory, it seems

  2. Interesting that you view it as an American problem, too.

    Czech ex-president Klaus just gave another speech where he said the "apolitical" parties and attitudes to be the biggest problem.

    Confrontations between political ideas are being replaced by confrontations of individual politicians' interests and pseudotopics such as moralizing and corruption, something that - he said - doesn't exist to this extent in any Western country.

    But maybe we're not *that* special in this bug.

  3. OT

    ... testing testing ... clothes peg on nose? Check.



    Health Warning: This involves the BBC so you may want to don your ebola/bio-hazard suits before reading.

    Secrets of the Universe: Great Scientists in Their Own Words

    (Beeboid web-flyer has montage of Feynman, Einstein and Hawking.)

    "Film telling the story of the greatest physicists of the 20th century and the discoveries they made, told in their own words. Men and women who transformed our understanding of the universe, from unlocking thesecrets of the atom to solving the mysteries of the cosmos.

    Revealing archive provides a unique insight into the lives and personalities of a cast of complex characters, eccentric geniuses and fantastic showmen who had to overcome personal struggles and intense rivalries before they could succeed. The film reveals the human side of scientific endeavour and shows how the great advances in our understanding of the cosmos depended on the character and personality of the scientists who made them, as much as on their intellectual abilities.

    Here's the link:

    If you're not in the UK you might have to fake your location to watch it directly.

    If you wish to thank them kindly—by drone, say [oh yes please]—the coordinates are:
    N 51.509973º, W 0.226098º

  4. According to PowerLine, that big block of blue in Minnesota is destined to turn red. All three candidates were veteran incumbent who won with <55%, and will lose once they retire or the Republicans find a good candidate.

  5. I am very curious about the timeline of the wakefield acceleration community. In particular, if, say ILC/CLIC or the Chinese collider were not to be built, do they have a glimmer of hope to provide the "next big machine"?