Particle Accelerator Timeline

  • Ernests' research

    In 1929, a young English-speaking associate professor at the University of California was browsing with difficulty through this German publication and came upon the article by Wideröe. He
    spoke hardly any German, but the diagrams were enough. Ernest Orlando Lawrence would later credit these diagrams for inspiring him to take a closer look at how to re-use the same fields—resulting two years later in the first cyclotron.
  • First particle accelerator built

    The first particle accelerator was built in 1930 by 27-year-old physicist Ernest Lawrence
  • Van de Graaff estimations

    In 1931, Van de Graaff estimated he had already charged his spheres to approximately 750 kV each, for a total potential difference of about 1.5 MV
  • WU experiments

    Other laboratories, such as a group at the University of Wisconsin in 1935 experimented with using inert gases at high pressures to increase the insulating effects of spheres.
  • Innovated cyclotron

    In 1936, the magnet faces of this cyclotron were enlarged to 37 inches, and a new chamber was built
  • Creation of the principle of phase stability

    This principle of phase stability was published nearly simultaneously: by V. Veksler in the USSR in early 1945, and also by E.M. McMillan at the University of California in late 1945
  • Using phase stability to reach higher energy output

    Thus it was that when McMillan and Veksler published their discovery of phase stability, cyclotron researchers noted immediately that it could be applied in cyclotrons to achieve higher energies than were previously thought possible
  • 1950 adjustments

    In the 1950s came alternating gradient focusing, allowing a dramatic reduction in magnet size in large accelerators, and the barrier moved again to 400 GeV.
  • First proton synchrotron built and working

    Consequently, acceleration of protons in a synchrotron was not successfully performed until 1952, five years after the first electron synchrotron was in operation
  • One of the best working synchrotrons

    In 1954, a 350 MeV electron synchrotron was completed at the University of Glasgow which incorporated all of the improvements of preceding synchrotrons from the last 8 years
  • High energy proton synchrotron

    The Brookhaven ‘cosmotron’ was finished in 1952, and reached its full energy of 3.0 GeV in 1954 . The Berkeley ‘bevatron’ was finished in 1954, and brought to full energy of 6.2 GeV in 1955
  • First accelerator to hit GeV amounts of energy

    The cosmotron was the first accelerator in history to reach the GeV range of energy and was also the first synchrotron to provide a beam of protons for experimentation outside the accelerator itself.
  • Collision Beams

    In the 1960s they added collision beams and the energy frontier moved forward
  • Mass amounts of cyclotrons

    By 1960, over a hundred cyclotrons had been built in laboratories around the world.
  • First SLAC build

    The basic design of the SLAC in 1962 (“Stage I”) consisted of 240 modules of 40 feet in length. Each module had RF power applied to it by a high-power klystron amplifier, producing short pulses of up to 24 MW at 2.856 GHz
  • Progression to a proton-antiproton collider

    The next step towards a p p collider was the invention in 1968 by Simon van der Meer at CERN of another method of beam cooling—stochastic cooling. Called stochastic cooling because of the stochastic nature of beams, in short, it uses an active electronic
    feedback system to sense density fluctuations in the beam and damp them out
  • High power storage rings

    In 1969, physicists at CERN had studied the idea of building two intersecting storage rings that could be fed by the existing 28 GeV proton synchrotron (CERN-PS)
  • SLACs' completion

    The SLAC was completed in December 1956 and reached a beam energy of 18.4 GeV in June of 1966. Research at SLAC from 1966 to
    1972 consisted solely of fixed-target experiments with the electron beam
  • Discovery of the J/psi particle

    In 1974, the J/psi particle was discovered by Burton Richter, for which he received the 1976 Nobel Prize in Physics.
  • Worlds' highest energy collider

    The main ring had a circumference of 2300 meters, with 8 straight sections. Two of the sections were RF accelerating cavities, and the other six were used for experimental areas.
  • Creation of the SppS

    Dr. Rubbia proposed to CERN an outlandish idea: convert the existing, and already successful SPS fixed-target accelerator into a p p collider. CERN decided to give it a go, and in 1981, the SPS (renamed the S p p S) collider provided its first collisions
  • LEPs' excavation

    Overall, 1.4 million m3 of earth and rock were excavated for the new Large Electron-Positron collider (LEP)—from the Main Ring tunnel, as well as four huge experimental caverns, 18 pits, and 3 km of secondary tunnels
  • Tevatrons first proton-antiproton collider

    In February of 1987, the Tevatron had its first p p collider physics run at its design energy: collisions of p p beams of 900 GeV
  • SLAC upgrades

    The SLC consisted of upgrades to the SLAC beamline to allow for the production of 50 GeV beams of both electrons and positrons, and two curving extensions of bending magnets added to the end of the SLAC to transport the colliding beams to the collision point.
  • The first electron-protron collider

    The first electron-proton collider was built at DESY, using the existing DESY, DORIS, and PETRA accelerators to act as injectors for the new collider.
  • LEPs' upgrades

    The LEP was upgraded with superconducting RF cavities in 1997 and was able to produce beams at 102 GeV each shortly after.
  • Main injector for the Tevatron

    The new Main Injector, commissioned in 1999 is a p p injector for the Tevatron itself, but also feeds an antiproton source with 120 GeV protons sent in bunches of 5 x 10^12 protons every 2.4 sec
  • Brookhaven's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider

    Enter Brookhaven’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC). Commissioned in 2000, RHIC was designed to accelerate and collide heavy ions, with the capability of colliding lighter ions all the way down to protons
  • Worlds' largest particle accelerator

    The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) consists of a 27-kilometer ring of superconductive magnets with a number of accelerating structures to boost the energy of the particles