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Replacing the shape of the track of accelerator particles

  1. Aug 10, 2015 #1


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    From what I can recall the shape of tracks of particle accelerator is circular.

    Is it possible to change this circular shape in future particle acclerators, to shapes like some knots (with more than one crossing)?
    to gain more distance in less space, I don't know how construct it, but it's a pitty that after the LHC is done its work we won't see more particle accelartors like this project in the near future.
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  3. Aug 10, 2015 #2


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    There are both circular and linear accelerators.

    They are circular because getting the particles around the curve is hard and needs strong magnetic fields (for protons) or the particles lose too much energy if the bend is too sharp (electrons). A circle is the optimal shape if you want to have a large curvature radius.

    The LHC has four points where the beams cross each other, it could have more if there would be more experiments to use them.

    The ILC could start operation years before the LHC retires, and there are several concepts how the LHC infrastructure can be used for more advanced projects later.
  4. Aug 10, 2015 #3


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    And make more tight turns and lose even more energy in the process? Why would anyone want to do that?

  5. Aug 10, 2015 #4


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    Well, for a proton machine where synchrotron losses aren't a big deal yet, conceivably you gain on space. The real issue would be designing a magnet strong enough to get to appreciable energies, which is of course already the limitation in building high energy hadron machines.
  6. Aug 10, 2015 #5


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    You gain space relative to what? The energy is limited by the product of magnetic field strength and curvature radius. Making the track more complicated at the same curvature radius just increases the length of the shape and the overall size of the device, which makes the construction more complex and more expensive.
    The length of circular accelerators is a disadvantage - you want to keep them as short as possible for the designed energy.
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