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betatron:see particle acceleratorparticle accelerator,
apparatus used in nuclear physics to produce beams of energetic charged particles and to direct them against various targets. Such machines, popularly called atom smashers, are needed to observe objects as small as the atomic nucleus in studies of its
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A device for accelerating charged particles in an orbit by means of the electric field E from a slowly changing magnetic flux &PHgr;. The electric field is given by E = -(1/2&pgr;ro) d&PHgr;/dt (in SI or mks units), where ro is the orbit radius. The name was chosen because the method was first applied to electrons. In the usual betatron both the accelerating core flux and a guiding magnetic field rise with similar time dependence, with the result that the orbit is circular. However, the orbit can have a changing radius as acceleration progresses. For the long path (usually more than 60 mi or 100 km), variations of axial and radial magnetic field components provide focusing forces, while space charge and space current forces due to the particle beam itself also contribute to the resulting betatron oscillations about the equilibrium orbit. In many other instances of particle beams, the term betatron oscillations is used for the particle oscillations about a beam's path.
Collective effects from self-fields of the beam have been found important and helpful in injecting. Circulating currents of about 3 amperes are contained in the numerous industrial and therapeutic betatrons, although the average currents are below 10-7 A. See Particle accelerator