Particle acceleration: Accelerating to the top
When it comes to research and practice in particle acceleration, Germany is a player at the highest level. The technologies involved can help scientists fight cancer or simulate physical processes on exoplanets. Meanwhile, particle accelerators themselves continue to get smaller and smaller.
By Julian Hörndlein
Accelerators can also aid in modifying materials and improve characteristics like resistance to corrosion or wear. But exposure to radiation can be damaging to one’s health. “Not all operators in industry are necessarily aware of the dangers of radiation,” says Georg Vogel, standardization manager at the German Commission for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies (DKE), who wants to bring all the relevant participants together. “Companies often aren’t all that well represented in the corresponding bodies,” he says, drawing a contrast between the world of business and scientific institutions such as DESY. To ensure the safety of everyone involved, a special DKE committee has been working on measurement and control technology in relation to ionizing radiation and recently published a new standard in August 2023.
Meanwhile, work on the enormous particle acceleration facilities continues. As in so many areas, this will likely be assisted by artificial intelligence in the future. “It currently takes weeks to correctly configure the accelerators,” says Prof. Boine-Frankenheim. AI could help accomplish this in a fraction of the time – and Germany will be right at the forefront of these advancements.
Julian Hörndlein is a technology journalist in Nuremberg.