Accelerator Science

First wake-field acceleration of electrons

On May 26th, 2018, the AWAKE collaboration (to which TRIUMF has been an active contributor of beam instrumentation since 2014) successfully accelerated witness-electrons for the first time. AWAKE has demonstrated that these low energy electrons can gain energy while “riding” waves generated in plasma (ionized gas) by a proton beam, at a rate of around 200 MV/m (million volts per meter) over a distance of just 10 m. This represents current-day state-of-the-art technology in particle accelerators, for the overall distance over which acceleration can be sustained and ensuring intensity and quality of accelerated beams. These results are an important step towards the future development of smaller high-energy particle accelerators.