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Particle accelerators

From the very big to the very small, particle accelerators are used to investigate both mysteries of the cosmos and the subatomic world. Particle physicists typically working in highly multinational collaborations, such as CERN in Switzerland, have developed giant underground particle accelerators to probe the fundamental interactions between matter by colliding elementary particles at very high energies.

The latest generation of accelerators, such as LHC and RHIC, produce previously unheard of quantities and energies of particles. Meanwhile, there is a new generation of lepton colliders and neutrino oscillation experiments either underway or being planned. These experiments will variously allow searches for the Higgs boson, supersymmetric particles and other exotic matter to be performed. They will also help to fix parameters in unified theories of interactions and yield important experimental evidence for cosmological theories of the origin of the Universe. Yet that is not the whole story.

This technology is also being used in medical and materials science applications, both for particle irradiation and as a free electron laser driver. Older accelerators, no longer producing high enough energies for particle physics research, often end up in this role. They are now being supplemented by dedicated accelerators, some of which are available as mass-produced units.

The Inspec Database covers the whole scope of this work, the accelerators, particle detectors and particle physics, with abstracts of journal papers, reports, and conference contributions from the major collaborations around the world. With regard to items concerning the accelerators themselves, they are categorised by type within classification Sections A2920/A2915 of the Database and are also indexed with appropriate controlled index (Thesaurus) terms: cyclotrons, synchrotrons, etc. They are also indexed by the type of particle they accelerate e.g.:

  • proton accelerators (including antiprotons),
  • electron accelerators (including positrons),
  • and ion accelerators

Other controlled index terms which are used in this area are as follows:

  • accelerator cavities 
  • accelerator control systems 
  • accelerator RF systems 
  • accelerator magnets 
  • beam choppers 
  • beam handling equipment 
  • beam handling techniques 
  • betatrons 
  • booster injectors 
  • collective accelerators
  • colliding beam accelerators 
  • cyclotrons 
  • electron accelerators 
  • electron ring accelerators 
  • electrostatic accelerators 
  • ion accelerators 
  • linear accelerators
  • linear colliders
  • microtrons 
  • muon colliders 
  • particle accelerators 
  • particle accelerator accessories
  • particle beam diagnostics 
  • particle beam fusion accelerators
  • proton accelerators 
  • storage rings 
  • synchrocyclotrons 
  • synchrotrons van der Graaff accelerators 
  • wigglers

Relevant classification codes in section A (Physics Abstracts) and section B (Electrical & Electronics Abstracts) of the Inspec Database are as follows:

  • A2910: Pre-acceleration (injection) 
  • A2915: Electrostatic and linear accelerators 
  • A2920: Cyclic accelerators and storage facilities 
  • A2921: Beams in particle accelerators
  • A2925: Particle sources and targets, preparation and technology 
  • A2930: Radiation spectrometers and spectrometry 
  • A2940: Radiation detectors 
  • A2960: Counting circuits and nuclear electronics 
  • A2970: Radiation measurement and detection 
  • A2975: Polarisation analysis 
  • A2980: Nuclear information processing 
  • B7410: Accelerators 
  • B7420: Particle and radiation detection 
  • B7430: Counting circuits and electronics 
  • B7440: Particle spectrometers 
  • B7450: X-ray and gamma-ray equipment

Use of the index terms combined with the classification codes provides a powerful yet straightforward search strategy in this area.

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