(plural particle accelerators)
- A device that accelerates electrically charged particles to extremely high speeds, for the purpose of inducing high energy reactions or producing high energy radiation.
particle accelerator - Computer Definition
An electrical device that generates charged particles, such as electrons, protons and ions, at high energy. So-called "nuclear accelerators" are used to split the atom for scientific research, but most particle accelerators are built for more practical applications. They are used to manufacture myriad products including semiconductors. They are also used as X-ray machines for cancer treatment and for detecting weaknesses in materials. Splitting Atoms The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is being built at CERN, the European laboratory for nuclear research. Costing around $8 billion and expected to roll out in 2008, it will be the largest particle accelerator in the world for nuclear research. While making 17-mile laps at nearly the speed of light, protons will be made to collide into other particles 10 million times per second. The main purpose is to find the Higgs boson, considered by some scientists to be the fundamental element of matter and often called the "God Particle." In order to process the data coming from the accelerator, a huge computing grid that uses resources from more than 150 institutions around the world, began testing in 2006. See peer-to-peer computing.