The device, named EMMA and constructed at the Daresbury Laboratory in the UK, is the first non-scaling fixed field alternating gradient accelerator, or non-scaling FFAG, ever built. It combines features of several other accelerator types to achieve rapid acceleration of subatomic particles while keeping the scale — and therefore, the cost — of the accelerator relatively low.The technology is of particular interest to Brookhaven physicists who want to accelerate muons, heavier but short-lived relatives of electrons, to study the fundamental laws of physics. Brookhaven physicist Scott Berg, who worked on the conceptual design and commissioning of the new machine, as well as tests of its performance, explains:
Colliding beams of muons can let us study the fundamental laws of physics at the highest energies and smallest length scales — beyond what any existing accelerators are capable of. Accelerating muons can also produce an intense beam of neutrinos, another type of subatomic particle, enabling detailed studies of their properties.
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Karen McNulty Walsh, BNL Media & Communications Office