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

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.

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.

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