The Betatron

Another interesting accelerator, known as the Betatron, was developed in the early 1940’s by a man name Donald Kerst at the University of Illinois. Kerst’s Betatron is used to accelerate electrons (beta particles) to produce high energy x-radiation. The first Betatron developed produced a radiation energy of a little more than 2 MeV. Continued development allowed the Betatron to generate energies as high as 300 MeV.

The Betatron operates on the principle of the transformer. T
he primary side consists of a large electromagnet, and the secondary side is the electron stream that is being accelerated. The electrons are accelerated in a circular tube known as a doughnut that has been evacuated. When the electrons have achieved maximum energy, they are directed to a target, the resulting interaction is the production of high energy X-rays.


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