The linear accelerators (LINACs) that we use in clinic accelerate electrons down a waveguide using microwave energy. The physical components required for this process aren’t exactly small (nor cheap). But what if that waveguide were on the nanoscale? A team at Stanford and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, both part of a larger ACHIP group, have published a study describing an electron accelerator on a chip. The design uses laser pulses (as opposed to microwave pulses) to accelerate electrons. The schematic appears very similar to a standard LINAC...except on a much smaller scale. Ok, so they only tested a single “stage” capable of generating an estimated acceleration of 0.9 keV—but, that was done over just 30 micrometers. Their goal is to leverage the scalability of the chip platform to assemble multiple stages into an accelerator capable of reaching the MeV range. While we aren’t expecting anything in the very near future, such disruptive design of linear accelerator technology could bring important advances to the accessibility of radiation oncology. TBL: On-chip laser-driven particle accelerators could take radiation oncology to a whole new scale. | Sapra, Science 2020


Popular Posts