SLAC and Stanford scientists used nanofabricated chips of fused silica just three millimeters long to accelerate electrons at a rate 10 times higher than conventional particle accelerator technology. Credit: Matt Beardsley, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
The key to the accelerator chips is tiny, precisely spaced ridges, which cause the iridescence seen in this close-up photo. Credit: Matt Beardsley, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
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In the accelerator-on-a-chip experiments, electrons are first accelerated to near light-speed in a conventional accelerator. Then they are focused into a tiny, half-micron-high channel within a fused silica glass chip just half a millimeter long. The channel had been patterned with precisely spaced nanoscale ridges.