It accelerates electrons to strike cancer cells directly without hitting healthy cells near them
A scientific team from Stanford University has succeeded in creating a new revolutionary particle accelerator, the size of one slice of silicon does not exceed the size of 30 micrometers (each meter contains a million micrometers), and a diameter of no more than the diameter of a human hair!
A particle accelerator is a device used to give a large amount of energy to atomic particles, such as protons, neutrons, and electrons, to study these particles, create new materials, or even use them to treat cancer by radiation.
At current particle accelerators, the particles are transported and gained energy within long, vacuum tubes. The accelerator at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) uses superconducting electromagnets to give the particles to be scanned so high that they are approaching the speed of light.
Particles, of course, require long paths in order to gain energy and accelerate to reach that speed, which makes particle accelerators very large and huge, which is difficult to use for research purposes, and increases the costs of maintenance and care.
Over the past decades, scientists have tried to reduce the size of particle accelerators. Scientists have succeeded in creating an accelerator that is only two meters long, but the Stanford University team has succeeded in reducing the size of the smallest accelerators known by nearly 66,000 times!
The paper published in the journal Science, says that scientists have designed a whole new mechanism to accelerate electrons through a vacuum channel only 30 microns in length, and a diameter of no more than the diameter of a human hair, which makes the acceleration system incorporated into a silicon slide One of those slides is in the mobile phone.
Scientists used microwaves to speed up electrons, instead of using strong magnets used by the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
In the new design, electrons flow into the vacuum channel, their path is converted to silicone wires installed inside the slide, and then induced by laser lasers pulsing from a device at a frequency of 100,000 times per second. Each time, the device sends a wave of photons to hit the electrons to be accelerated at exactly the right angle, which is predetermined by using a computer program intended for that process.
And when photons hit the electrons, they gain high energy, causing them to accelerate to the speed of light, which is the primary goal of any particle accelerator.
“This accelerator is not yet ready for practical use,” said the first author of the study, “Neil Sabra,” in comments to “for information.” At the moment, scientists can give electrons a burst of energy estimated at 0.915 kV, which is 1,000 times less energy than is required. To conduct research or for medical applications, however, the research team wanted to demonstrate that the concept of reducing the particle accelerators can work as efficiently as the bulk accelerators.
“This achievement provides a platform to raise technologies to a level where applications become practical. This is the first time that visible and infrared lasers have been used to accelerate electrons in free space, and the size of the new accelerator is a major milestone in Transferring particle acceleration technology to another level that enables researchers everywhere to conduct such experiments at minimal costs is never comparable to the cost of conducting experiments within massive accelerators. “
What would be useful in creating a chip size accelerator? The researchers say the first application could be in targeted cancer treatments. For example, the new accelerator can be inserted into the patient’s cells and directed directly to the tumor, and through the device electrons are accelerated across the accelerator to hit the cancer cells directly without hitting nearby healthy cells.
By the end of this year, researchers will raise the energy level to the amount needed for scientific experiments, and this may necessitate increasing the length of the accelerator to about 2.4 centimeters. “Neil” says that success in this matter will constitute a “new shift in the world of particle accelerators,” which will give a “democratic character to the experiments”, as scientists from all over the world will be able to conduct experiments and discuss them further, “the tool will be presented in a way that facilitates For researchers to obtain “, which will contribute to raising awareness and increasing applications that will be useful in cancer treatments, medical imaging and other applications in materials science.