Advanced Photon Source

An Office of Science National User Facility

Linear Accelerator

Producing high-brightness, high-energy x-ray beams at the APS begins with electrons emitted from a cathode heated to ~1000° C. The electrons are accelerated by high-voltage alternating electric fields in a linear accelerator (or linac; photo below). Selective phasing of the electric field accelerates the electrons to 450 million electronvolts (MeV). At 450 MeV, the electrons are relativistic: they are traveling at >99.999% of the speed of light, which is 299,792,458 meters/ second (186,000 miles/second).

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