Re-use particle energy

Future particle accelerators could use only a fraction of the energy currently required, after UK scientists successfully demonstrated energy recovery on the ALICE advanced particle accelerator design.


The demonstration took place at the Daresbury laboratory in Cheshire.


The prototype successfully transported accelerated electrons to 99.9 per cent of the speed of light, creating a beam with a total energy of 11 million electron volts.


The Accelerators and Lasers In Combined Experiments (ALICE) project is designed to produce light from the accelerator and advanced lasers for use in accelerator technologies, such as super-conducting cavities.


This was the first time that the ALICE beam had travelled around the entire circuit, and is the first European demonstration of an accelerator which captures and re-uses the initial beam energy after each circuit.


The project, which is being financed by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the North West Development Agency (NWDA), will undergo further trials to verify results.


Once fully commissioned, ALICE is expected to accelerate to 35 million volts with recovery of 99.9 per cent of the power at the final accelerator stage.


Susan Smith, head of the Accelerator Physics Group at STFC Daresbury Laboratory, said: ‘Energy recovery means a massive saving of power or alternatively, for the same power usage, light sources and colliders of unprecedented power and intensity.


‘The ALICE team have been working tremendously hard to demonstrate energy recovery, and when we did this in the small hours of Saturday morning, it felt like Christmas had come early.’