Public lecture: Accelerating to the speed of light

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The movement of atoms, the uncurling of proteins, are just two examples of ultra-fast phenomenon that can be detected with laser-light flashes of radiation generated by accelerators. Accelerators are currently used for medical diagnostics, cancer treatment, semiconductor research, materials development and particle physics – but the potential for industry is even greater. A revolutionary accelerator is currently being designed by an international consortium within the EuPRAXIA project with strong involvement of experts from the QUASAR Group. This new machine will use extremely powerful lasers to generate a plasma ‘the fourth state of matter’, to propel electrons at the speed of light and create a high-energy electron beam of industrial quality.

Prof. Carsten P. Welsch explained the basics of accelerator science in an evening seminar for the Institution of Engineering and Technology in Birkenhead to then show work that has just begun on designing the world’s first high-energy plasma-based accelerator with industry beam quality. This facility shall be better and more compact than anything existing at the moment, opening up numerous opportunities to use beams for entirely new types of fundamental science and applied research applications.