Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

High energy atomic particles

  1. Nov 24, 2013 #1
    Hello. I read about fast neutron therapy for cancer and the therapy uses a beam of high energy neutrons. How do you excite a particle to make it have "higher" energy.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 24, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    The term "high energy" refers to the speed of the neutrons. In fast neutron therapy, neutrons are typically produced by smashing protons or deuterons into a beryllium target, which results in neutron spallation. IE the protons and deuterons smash into the beryllium and knock neutrons out of the beryllium nuclei. These neutrons then proceed at high speed away from the beryllium and through a beam collimator that ensures the neutron beam forms the correct shape and size and is directed in the right direction to hit the patient exactly where they need it.


    Of course, if you're asking about particles in general, then I can say that it is very very easy to accelerate charged particles like protons using electric fields and RF radiation.
  4. Nov 24, 2013 #3
    Great reply. Thank you!
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook