The Clear Science staff has been spending time doing experiments to probe the hidden secrets of battery materials. A battery is a device that converts chemical energy to electrical energy, which you can then use to power something. A battery has two electrodes, and each one has a different chemical.

We’re using light reflections to study these chemicals. Let’s talk about what that means. Pictured above is a coin cell battery, like you might see in a watch. We’ve modified it to have a window on each side to shine light through, and we’ve put it in a special holder.

mdt:

Handmade particle accelerator unveiled at Milan Design Week, Higgs-Boson a no-show http://engt.co/I523GW

It shouldn’t surprise any of you Clear Scientists if it’s possible to make a small, handmade particle accelerator. In fact the first cyclotron, built by Lawrence and Livingston in 1931, was just 4.5 inches in diameter. It applied a voltage of 1800 volts to accelerate particles to 80,000 electron-volts. (This was the trick: How do you keep from needing 80,000 volts?)
This first, small cyclotron was the predecessor to the big synchrotrons we’ve been talking about lately.
Any idea how this handmade particle accelerator would work? We’re not sure yet, just taking a glance.

mdt:

Handmade particle accelerator unveiled at Milan Design Week, Higgs-Boson a no-show http://engt.co/I523GW

It shouldn’t surprise any of you Clear Scientists if it’s possible to make a small, handmade particle accelerator. In fact the first cyclotron, built by Lawrence and Livingston in 1931, was just 4.5 inches in diameter. It applied a voltage of 1800 volts to accelerate particles to 80,000 electron-volts. (This was the trick: How do you keep from needing 80,000 volts?)

This first, small cyclotron was the predecessor to the big synchrotrons we’ve been talking about lately.

Any idea how this handmade particle accelerator would work? We’re not sure yet, just taking a glance.


We said that you use a synchrotron light source to generate photons. Photons are light, so that’s why it’s called a light source. Often the photons you want are X-rays, which are photons with a short wavelength: 0.01 nanometers to 10 nanometers. The light we can see with our eyes has wavelengths of hundreds of nanometers.
Electrons traveling at close to the speed of light lose energy and give off the X-ray photons, which are drawn off in tangents while the electrons continue in a circle. You then make those X-rays hit a sample that you are doing some science on.
X-rays are often used by doctors to take photographs through the skin. So that’s one use of them. Can you think of another reason people would want to use extremely bright X-rays to study samples of material using a synchrotron?

We said that you use a synchrotron light source to generate photons. Photons are light, so that’s why it’s called a light source. Often the photons you want are X-rays, which are photons with a short wavelength: 0.01 nanometers to 10 nanometers. The light we can see with our eyes has wavelengths of hundreds of nanometers.

Electrons traveling at close to the speed of light lose energy and give off the X-ray photons, which are drawn off in tangents while the electrons continue in a circle. You then make those X-rays hit a sample that you are doing some science on.

X-rays are often used by doctors to take photographs through the skin. So that’s one use of them. Can you think of another reason people would want to use extremely bright X-rays to study samples of material using a synchrotron?

What we mean by “synchrotron” is actually a synchrotron light source, but you hear people use both words for it. It’s a particle accelerator used to produce electromagnetic radiation ("light") such as X-rays. This light is very bright, and is useful to do experiments.
The National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) is pictured, where electrons are accelerated to 2.8 GeV (giga electron volts, which is a high energy). The electrons lose energy and give off photons, and these photons are pulled off in beamlines, which go off at tangents from the ring.
The larger ring at NSLS has a circumference of 170 meters. The largest synchrotron light source in the USA is 1104 meters: the Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Lab, near Chicago. 

What we mean by “synchrotron” is actually a synchrotron light source, but you hear people use both words for it. It’s a particle accelerator used to produce electromagnetic radiation ("light") such as X-rays. This light is very bright, and is useful to do experiments.

The National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) is pictured, where electrons are accelerated to 2.8 GeV (giga electron volts, which is a high energy). The electrons lose energy and give off photons, and these photons are pulled off in beamlines, which go off at tangents from the ring.

The larger ring at NSLS has a circumference of 170 meters. The largest synchrotron light source in the USA is 1104 meters: the Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Lab, near Chicago.