Here’s A Particle Accelerator That’s Smaller Than A Grain Of Rice

It’s teeny tiny. But not yet practical for any real-world use.

1. This chip can accelerate sub-atomic particles at a rate 10 times faster than conventional particle accelerators.

Matt Beardsley/SLAC
ID: 1721408

2. When laser light shines on the chip it creates an electric field that boost the energy of a particle as it passes through.

Matt Beardsley/SLAC

The iridescent stripes you can see in this image are tiny, precisely spaced ridges that are key to accelerating electrons as they pass through the chip.

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3. This video explains how the accelerator works in more detail.

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

And it’s also described in more detail in a paper in the journal Nature.

ID: 1721417

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Kelly Oakes is science editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.
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