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The SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California houses one of the world’s shortest particle accelerators. At just a few millimeters long, so-called “on-chip” accelerators could significantly reduce the costs and infrastructure needs of future particle colliders. However, current chip accelerators require conventional particle accelerators to first rev up electrons to nearly the speed of light—the chip then gives the final speed boost. Now Dylan Black at Stanford University, Calfornia, and colleagues have taken a step toward stand-alone chip accelerators, demonstrating a micrometer-sized lens that could be incorporated into such a device. Such a lens will be essential for future chip accelerators if they are to keep slow electrons confined as the particles are pushed to high speeds.

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Category: Science