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Are cyclotrons really use for some purpose

  1. Dec 3, 2009 #1
    Hi all,
    Are cyclotrons really use for some purpose....?
    If they are in use for what purpose they are heavily used?
    Because these days i see many 3rd gen. sources..
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 3, 2009 #2
    Re: cylotron

    Hi there,

    Cyclotrons are the basis of every particle research center in this world!!!

    You probably heard about the CERN, to start accelerating the particles, they use a cyclotron.

    So if your question is about why are they used: except for research they don't really have that much sense.
  4. Dec 3, 2009 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    Re: cylotron

    Are you sure about this? I am pretty sure it's a Linac and then 4 synchrotrons.
  5. Dec 3, 2009 #4
    Re: cylotron

    No I am not. sorry about that.
  6. Dec 4, 2009 #5
    Re: cylotron

    I believe that cyclotrons are indeed still in use today. Somebody was telling be about these being used in hospitals for proton therapy. The problem with cyclotrons for such an application, I was told, is that they are not very tunable in energy. But they are cheap! I gather the magnetic field is fixed and the ions (or electrons in the original E. Lawrence design) execute a spiral and come out at a particular energy.

    Look up "Bragg peak" in some search engine. Ions tend to deposit their energy locally, according to their energy. So, to treat a tumor that is several cm is size, the energy of the ions must be altered. This is the problem. Cyclotrons like one energy. But they are cheap!!

    3rd generation light sources use synchrotrons or "storage rings". Here the (usually electron) energy is ramped up, the magnets that keep them in the ring are ramped up accordingly. The beams are periodically kicked out into wigglers to make the 3rd generation light (x-rays, their energies increasing with each generation).

    The high-energy-physics proton/anti-proton storage rings are similar, but Much larger. LHC must adjust the magnet strength as the protons become more massive/energetic.
  7. Feb 13, 2010 #6
    Re: cylotron

    Yes, cyclotrons are used for cancer cure attempts and the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams tries to figure out why radioactive nuclei aren't stable.
  8. Feb 15, 2010 #7
    Re: cylotron

    MSU has two cyclotrons in use in the NSCL. I believe they are being replaced (or diverted) in the next few years though.
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