Particle Accelerator

  1. I was wondering how to build a particle accelerator at home. If it is possible, please tell me how. Thank You
    -ATCG
     
  2. jcsd
  3. jcsd

    jcsd 2,226
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    No it isn't, partricle accelrators are huge devices which are miles long/have a radius of miles and use extremely powerful magnets in order to get the particles up to the required speed.
     
  4. Nereid

    Nereid 4,014
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    Actually, you probably have several in your house right now ... your computer monitor (unless it's a liquid crystal flat screen), your TV set (again, unless it's a flat panel liquid crystal one), your fluorescent light tubes, ...

    The standard cathode ray tube is an electron accelerator (and electrons are particles).

    What sort of particles do you wish to accelerate? To what sorts of energies?
     
  5. chroot

    chroot 10,426
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    You can build a small cyclotron in your home with nothing more than a modest vacuum pump, some sort of cylindrical vacuum flask, a couple of carefully manufacturered D-shaped electrodes, and some simple electronics. The whole thing could be no larger than a few feet in diameter.

    The easiest thing to do is to evacuate the flask and use the particles (mostly nitrogen atoms) in the rarefied gas left over as projectiles.

    The energies won't be high, but you can certainly do some simple experiments with your crude nitrogen beam.

    - Warren
     
  6. I would be trying to create anti-matter
     
  7. jcsd

    jcsd 2,226
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    What kind of anti-matter, you can create anti-neutrinos from beta-decay (In the UK at least you usually need a license to handle any radioactive materials), creating any other kind of antimatter is going to be more difficult esp. anti-baryons.
     
  8. Nereid

    Nereid 4,014
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    You could always build a cloud chamber, and watch the cosmic rays go through it. Every so often you'll see some anti-matter ...
     
  9. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Your warp engines running low on gas?

    I read once that anti-matter is th most expensive "substance" in the world.
     
  10. Nereid

    Nereid 4,014
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    Russ said:
    More likely to be super-heavy elements (Lr, Rf, ... through to Uuo (element 118))
     
  11. chroot

    chroot 10,426
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    Given the energies needed to perform this, I can pretty convincingly say you're not going to get it to happen on your tabletop. And even if you did, how would you use it? You need some pretty sophisticated machinery to separate and store antimatter.

    You may be interested to know that some kinds of targets, such as lead, are commonly used to "convert" photons into particle-antiparticle pairs.

    - Warren
     
  12. pmb

    pmb 0

    That's incorrect. People have actually built particle accelerators at home. From - www.fnal.gov/pub/inquiring/questions/homemade_particle_accl.html
    I believe he's talking about this person
    http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mrniell/cyc2.html


    A good place to start would be to look at how the first cyclotron was made. See - "The Production of High Speed Light Ions Without the Use of High Voltages," Ernest O. Lawrence and M. Stanley Livingston, University of California. February 1932 --
    http://prola.aps.org/abstract/PR/v40/i1/p19_1

    For an image of a table-top accelerator see
    http://www.aip.org/history/lawrence/larger-image-page/first-11.htm

    See also -
    http://www.aip.org/history/lawrence/first_text.htm
    http://www.aps.org/apsnews/0603/060316.html
    http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/early-years.html
    http://www.lbl.gov/nsd/user88/chchist1.html (???)

    The first cyclotron could actually be held in your hand
    http://www.fnal.gov/pub/inquiring/timeline/15.html
    http://www.llnl.gov/llnl/history/eolawrence.html
    http://science.howstuffworks.com/atom-smasher2.htm

    ATCG - If you build one please keep me informed. I'd love to follow your progress.

    Pete
     
  13. chroot

    chroot 10,426
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    THAT'S CYCLOTRON BOY!

    I remember seeing his (award-winning) science fair project at the 1994 International Science and Engineering Fair in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada!!! My clique of students took quickly to giving him the endearing name of 'cyclotron boy,' and making up stories about his parents forcing him to stay in the basement, subsisting on bread and water, working his fingers to the bone to make his cyclotron.

    Talk about a small world!

    My only complaint with his entire experiment was that he obfuscated it as much as possible. He didn't just buy a vacuum pump -- no -- he took one apart and stuck all its components on a big piece of plywood, lengthening hoses as necessary, to make it look more imposing. He really did a first-rate job, though -- he was studying mass resonance, I believe, and took some reasonably useful data with his crude apparatus. He certainly did deserve the 1st grand award in physics.

    - Warren
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2003
  14. Could someone link me to a web site the has detailed schematics on how to build a cyclotron or Particle accelerator?

    Thanks
    -ATCG
     
  15. pmb

    pmb 0

    Did you look at this page??
    http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mrniell/cyc2.html

    Try e-mailing the author/owner of that site and ask him of the blueprints and schematics (one's online are not very legible).

    His e-mail address is - mrniell@umich.edu

    Pete
     
  16. This summer I worked with a Van de Graaff accelerator. We were able to accelerate protons and alpha particles to 2.5 MeV. Basically, it's just a Van de Graaff generator that charges up to about 2x10^6 V and accelerates the particles from a plasma that gets struck by an RF magnetic field. They go through a bunch of equipotential plates, basically round metal plates with holes in their middles that are connected by resistors so that they step down the voltage accumulated on the dome. To keep the dome from sparking over to the outer container, it's pumped down, then filled to low pressure with SF_6. There's a relatively long beam line that's pumped down to high vacuum with a sample chamber. We did some Rutherford Backscattering Spectrometry and some nuclear reaction analysis.

    There are also some smaller accelerators. At the University of North Texas, where I was this summer, they have a Cockcroft-Walton accelerator. This one's small enough that it could fit in a relatively large basement. Good luck with the electric bills, though. Accelerators eat power pretty ravenously.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  17. Can you go into more detail as to materials, production and use? Id appreciate it. Im interested in designing one myself, bu i need more general info
     
  18. So what would you do with just a cyclotron (assuming you’ll build it, and you’ll willing to pay electrical bill for it’s el. Magnets, nevertheless Lawrence would be proud on you ;))? You need some detecting equipment, what about that, and what can you really do with homemade cyclotron (you can’t achieve energies needed for experiments you would like to conduct anyway)…

    Thing with that cloud chamber could be interesting… has anyone of you built it or saw homemade specimen (at least you’ll pass without scary el. bills)…

    Anyway I’m interested what effects are being used for detections of processes, experiments, globally everything happening in modern hi-energies accelerators?
     
  19. Cyclotron Boy indeed...

    I have to admit that this is a pretty bad trolling here, but I just wanted to let Warren know that I am still alive and around. I happened to see this message in the forum, and had to respond. I do not have cyclotron blueprints or schematics. However, I am writing a rather involved book on the subject of designing and building a particle accelerator in your garage or basement. I have quite a bit of stuff down already, and it is not finished. Anyway- it is certainly possible for the advanced tinkerer to create a particle accelerator capable of nuclear interactions. While I cannot design a machine for people, I can provide guidance. So, if someone wants help or advice in designing a machine of their own, please feel free to email me or post questions.

    The name "Cyclotron Boy" stuck. It is my /. name, and now my physics forums name. Boy, the science fair brings back memories. Good times, good times.

    And the website is Fred's World of Science: Research

    -Fred
     
  20. chroot

    chroot 10,426
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    FRED! CYCLOTRON BOY!

    Wow, it's AWESOME to have you here! There is no doubt that you were the most feared (and admired) presenter at the ISEF the years I was there. I have to say I'm embarrassed that, as a lowly sophomore in high school, I was afraid to even introduce myself to you!

    It's great to have people of your caliber here on physicsforums. We have a lot of late high-school / early college kids here, and your stories and successes will inspire and motivate many. I hope that you'll stick with us and enjoy the forum!

    (And I'm personally glad to hear you didn't take "cyclotron boy" as an insult, because it most certainly wasn't!)

    - Warren
     
  21. Well I'm quite entirely sure about Fermilab and CERN but I use to work in the computer department of the NSCL at MSU (www.nscl.msu.edu) and I saw most of the detection equipment they used in their experiments. For gamma ray detection, they used an array of segmented germanium crystal detectors set up in whatever geometrical pattern they needed. For beta decay they used silicon detector arrays that were about the size of a post-it note. They had a couple of large neutron detectors. One used a liquid scintillator and photometers and the other much newer one used a plastic scinillator that was formed into horizontal waveguides, had photometers attached to each end and were stacked into a large block. They hadn't officially used it (it was in the process of testign) when I left. They also had a few smaller neutron detectors that used a liquid scinillator. They also had a NMR beta detector and a few spectrographs. Overall it's a rather impressive place.
     
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