A breakthrough scientific result was registered as researchers have managed to accelerate electrons by using photons that pass through plasma waves. The discovery took place when they use an approximate factor of 100 over the length of 10 meters, by injecting them into AWAKE at the impressive energy level of 19 MeV( one million electron volts) and obtaining an energy output of 2GeV( or a billion electron volts).
A traditional Large Hadron Collider requires a 27 km (17 miles) concrete tunnel, and more than five billion US dollars for the infrastructure and associated cost. The recent experiment, which uses up to 10 meters (33 feet), is based on the use of plasma wakefield acceleration. Based on this discovery, the costs for particle accelerators could be dramatically decreased.
It took five years for the team to develop the Advanced Proton Driven Plasma Wakefield Accelerator Experiment after CERN approved the project. While the project is in the early phases, it could also change the way we perceive the essential physics of our world.
Traditional accelerators employed radio-frequency cavities in order to increase the energy charge of particle beams. The oppositely charged sides of the cavity are alternated regularly. In a wakefield accelerator, the particles are energized by riding the top of a plasma wave which contains similar zones.
It is the first experiment that uses protons for the drive beam, which is capable of inserting protons deeper into the plasma, allowing a better acceleration of the particles.
A beam of photons is shot through the incredibly hot plasma, creating pockets of electrical fields and creating the Wakefield. A beam of electrons shot in précis conditions through the same medium will be able to achieve great speeds over a short distance.
The resulting speed of 2 GeV is not very impressive when compared to the current record of 13 TeV, or 13,000 GeV currently held by the Large Hadron Collider. But it is a promising discovery that offers several benefits.