Particle Accelerators and their beams are tools of discovery and innovation. These tools take small bits of matter (particles) and accelerate them at high speeds.
“Atoms are the building blocks of matter” is probably something you have
heard before. You may also remember learning that atoms are made of three
types of particles: neutrons, protons, and electrons. But did you know that
charging and accelerating a beam of electrons or protons near the speed of
light can help us answer some of society's greatest questions, like "Why did
the T-rex have such small arms?" Taming these energetic particles is a
delicate balance. Let’s see how well you can do it!
Scientists and engineers have learned how to use electromagnetic force fields to accelerate and
focus beams of particles, and scientists continue to build their knowledge and skills in this area. At Argonne’s Advanced Photon
Source (APS), scientists control electron beams moving at 99.999% the speed of light to produce some of the brightest x-rays on
the planet. These x-rays are used to do all sorts of science and have numerous applications such as helping develop new
vaccines or more efficient batteries. Understanding how these powerful and beneficial machines work can be difficult to
understand. In this activity, you will watch a short video and create a model to explore how electromagnetic force fields interact