Date: Around 1993
How fast can a particle accelerator move an atom?
Well, technically speaking, a particle accelerator does not
normally move "atoms", since atoms are neutral objects, and the accelerators
only move charged objects. But that probably was not what you had in mind.
Once you have accelerated particles to very close to the speed of light, the
actual speed really is not the interesting quantity. The interesting quantity
is the total energy (rest mass + kinetic energy) of the accelerated particle,
which is usually many times the rest energy m0 c^2. The biggest accelerators
of electrons (at SLAC and Cornell) can achieve 10-50 GeV per electron, or up
to 100,000 times the rest energy (511 MeV) of the electron. Those are pretty
huge energy increases!
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Update: June 2012