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Name:   Garrick G.
Status:  student
Age:  17
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000

I am doing a report on Particle Accelerators for my Chemistry class and I have found they produce radiation, but no one has said exactly why they produce radiation. I would really appreciate clarification on this.

Garrick :

The type of radiation emitted depends on the type of particle accelerator. For example, in order to characterize the chemical composition of a sample, I have used an accelerator that bombards the sample with alpha particles. These alpha particles cause atoms on the sample surface to change into radioactive elements, and these emit neutrons.

I think that what you meant by your question, however, was something different. The short answer is that, according to the laws of electromagnetism, a charged particle that is undergoes acceleration or deceleration emits electromagetic radiation. This is how an antenna works. The electrons in the antenna are made to vibrate (oscillate back and forth), and therefore undergo acceleration and deceleration. The result is that electromagnetic radiation is produced, sending a signal (a radio signal, for example), into the air, to be received by your radio receiver.

Jim Rubin

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