Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Accelerators For Baggage Scanners

I've been doing my part in trying to convey the fact that the overwhelming majority of the applications for accelerators have nothing to do with particle physics. Here is another example, the use of accelerators to generate x-rays for baggage scanners.

Two SLAC physicists with decades of particle accelerator experience helped a Silicon Valley company design and build X-ray devices that scan cargo containers for nuclear materials and other hazards. A version of this screening system is now in commercial use, and on May 16, the company received national recognition for its successful development from the federal Small Business Administration. 

There are a lot more examples of this that many of you come in contact with almost everyday. You use or come in contact with particle accelerators more often than you realize.

Also note that this is another example where research that was meant for the study of fundamental physics, found an application elsewhere as an off-shoot.


1 comment:

Hamish said...

I'm struggling to see what's new here. As far as I know, all X-ray sources are linear electron accelerators -- including the first Crookes tubes that were built in the 1870s. I think the article should have pointed this out because a reader could be forgiven for thinking that this is the first time accelerator technology has been applied to X-ray sources.