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Homework Help: Particle accelerators

  1. Apr 14, 2005 #1
    Can someone give me some info on a)linear accelerators and their medical applications and b)the development of the synchrotron please?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 14, 2005 #2

    Andrew Mason

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    A key medical application of the linear accelerator has been the electron microscope. It has allowed medical science to understand the fine structure of the cell and how it functions.

    Synchrotrons, of which the linear accelator is an essential part, produce intense highly directional em radiation at various frequencies (light, infra-red, x-rays). These highly collimated beams of radiation are used to 'view' molecules which can be very useful in understanding the way molecules in the cell bind to each other. This is important in understanding biological processes at the molecular level. Xray diffraction using synchrotron radiation is used in studying protein structures and in designing small molecule drugs. Synchrotron light can be used to do live medical imaging of tissue - to measure blood flow, for example.

  4. Apr 21, 2005 #3
    Linear accelerators are also used to create radioactive isotopes for contrast imaging and radiotherapy. Cyclotrons are also used for this purpose. The synchrotron was invented to allow relativistic circular particle acceleration. Cyclotrons have a nonrelativistic maximum energy limit intrinsic to their operation. Synchrotrons overcome this by having a wide aperture, focused magnets, and variable frequency.
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