illustration of an electron beam traveling through a niobium cavity – a key component of SLAC’s future LCLS-II X-ray laser.
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Advanced accelerators

Accelerators form the backbone of SLAC's national user facilities. They are complicated machines, with hundreds of thousands of components that all need to be designed, engineered, operated and maintained to achieve the highest energy acceleration and the highest quality particle beams. Research at SLAC is continually improving accelerators, both at SLAC and at other laboratories, and is also paving the way to a new generation of particle acceleration technology.

High-energy positron acceleration in plasma.

Accelerator physics

Accelerator science and technology have been at the core of SLAC’s mission from the beginning. The Accelerator Directorate operates and maintains our existing accelerators to provide the highest possible level of performance by developing ways to preserve beam quality.

Accelerator news

Scientists from all over the world come to SLAC’s FACET-II to do experiments aimed at improving the power and efficiency of particle accelerators.

FACET's transverse deflecting cavity

FACET-II will pave the way for a future generation of particle colliders and powerful light sources, opening avenues in high-energy physics, medicine, and materials, biological and energy science.

FACET-II Facility
Plasma wakefield acceleration.

Accelerator R&D

New technologies, such as "plasma wakefield" accelerators, can boost electrons to very high energies in very short distances. This could lead to linear accelerators that are 100 times more powerful, boosting electrons to a given energy in one hundredth the distance.

Accelerator R&D news

Charged particles “surf” waves of plasma – a promising technology that could make future particle colliders more compact and affordable.

A plasma tube to bring particles up to speed at SLAC.

At SLAC’s FACET facility, researchers have produced an intense electron beam by 'sneaking’ electrons into plasma, demonstrating a method that could be used in future compact discovery machines that explore the subatomic world.

Trojan horse illustration
 Plasma wakefield acceleration.

Accelerators of the future

SLAC physicists are instrumental in developing technology for future accelerators, from linear and circular particle colliders to new, ultrabright X-ray light sources and advanced technologies for the accelerators of tomorrow.

Accelerator engineering news

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LCLS-II will add a superconducting accelerator that powers an X-ray laser beam that’s 10,000 times brighter, on average, than the first one and fires up to a million pulses per second.

LCLS-II Cryomodules

It uses terahertz radiation to power a miniscule copper accelerator structure.

Terahertz accelerator structure