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Nuclear Accelerator

Nuclear fission is nuclear reactions in which nuclei break or fuse with other nuclei to form new nuclei. Such reactions are initiated with the bombardment of some particles like neutrons. Before bombardment, we must accelerate these particles so that   collision will be effective. We are using a device that accelerates charged particles with the help of electromagnetic field. This device is called as particle accelerators.

There are mainly two types of accelerators based on different fields. One is electrostatic accelerator and another is oscillating field accelerator. As name explained, electrostatic accelerators accelerate the particles with the help of electrostatic field. Some common examples of electrostatic accelerators are Cockcroft-Walton accelerator and the Van de Graaff accelerator. The electric field used in these accelerators does not change with time. Therefore very large electric fields need to accelerate particles which one of the major drawback these accelerators as maintenance of high electric field is difficult and dangerous too. Another type of accelerators require a periodically change electric field therefore they are called as oscillating field accelerator.

These devices were invented in the 1930s and were used to provide energetic particles. These energetic particles were used in the investigation of the structure of the atomic nucleus. Both type of accelerators speed up the particles and generate electric fields by increasing energy. Here electric field accelerates the particles while magnetic fields steer and focus them.

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Nuclear Accelerator Definition

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So we can say that nuclear accelerators are devices that accelerate a beam of particles by various means. Let’s have a look on the basic structure of nuclear accelerator. An accelerator can be n the form of ring that is called as a circular accelerator or in the form of a beam that is called as linear accelerator. In a circular accelerator a beam of particles travels repeatedly round a loop. On the contrary, in a linear accelerator it travels in a straight line from one end to the other.

A number of accelerators can be joined together in a sequence to get high energy. There are various particles which can be used in these devices such as Large Hadron Collider or LHC accelerates protons or heavy lead ions. Circular or linear accelerators are mainly used to explore atomic nuclei. These devices help to identify new elements. Study of new elements helps to explain various phenomena which affect the entire nucleus. Fermilab's accelerator and collider detector are used in the study of collision between violent particles.

Electrostatic Nuclear Accelerator

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Electrostatic nuclear accelerators use the electrostatic field to accelerate the charged particles. In such accelerators, an electric field strips hydrogen nuclei of their electrons. Remember hydrogen nuclei contain one electron and one proton. The switching of electric fields from positive to negative at a given frequency pulls charged particles in forward direction. Engineers can control the change in frequency to ensure that the particles should not accelerate in a continuous stream. But they should remain in closely spaced bunches. So we can say that each time, the beam of particles passes to the electric field in radio frequency cavities.

This process transfers some energy from the radio waves to the particles that help them to move in forward direction. There are various kinds of magnets in the accelerators which serves different functions such as dipole magnets bend the path of a beam of particles whereas quadrupole magnets help to focus a beam and gather the particles closer together.

So these magnets act like lenses.  Particle detectors help to record the collisions at accelerators. One of the common examples of electrostatic accelerator is the Van de Graaff accelerator, developed by the American physicist Robert Jemison Van de Graaff.

Particle Accelerators

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There are various types of particles which can be used in different accelerators such as photon, proton, ions etc. Such accelerators are called as particle accelerators. These accelerators are mainly used to study the nature of matter and energy. In these accelerators, the charged particles are accelerated with an electric field. The process occurs in a hollow, evacuated tube. The accelerated charged particles collide with each ion and also with a stationary target. The results of the collisions can be used to analyze the probability of the interactions in the subatomic world. The collisions between particles occur in a bubble chamber which is a device to record the tracks of charged particles. The accelerating particles can be move in straight, spiral, or circular directions.

The spiral path is called as cyclotron and circular path is called as synchrotron. Both of these paths use strong magnetic field to control the particles. Particle accelerators help to learn about the subatomic particles and also used to accelerate charged particles or ions. Particle accelerators have three basic parts; a source of elementary particles or ions, a tube pumped in which the particles can travel freely and some source that can speed up the particles.

In these devices, the charged particles can be accelerated by an electrostatic field such as British scientists John D. Cockcroft and Ernest Walton were accelerated the protons to 250,000 eV.

Oscillating Field Particle Accelerators

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Oscillating field accelerator is a type of particle accelerator that is based on the oscillating electrostatic field. Oscillating field accelerators use radio frequency electromagnetic fields that circumvent the breakdown problem. Such devices were developed in the 1920's. All modern accelerators are based on same concept. The pioneer scientists for these devices are Rolf Widerøe, Gustav Ising, Leó Szilárd, Donald Kerst and Ernest Lawrence. They conceived and built the first operational linear particle accelerator that are named as the betatron, and the cyclotron. Most of the particle accelerators propel subatomic particles.

Tandem Accelerators

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Tandem accelerators provide a beam with twice the energy. This can be possible only high voltage. Tandem accelerator is an ion source yields a beam of protons. Van de Graaff generators are good examples of tandem accelerators.
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