Chronology of Milestone Events in Particle Physics - MCMILLAN 1945
Chronology of Milestone Events in Particle Physics


McMillan, E.M.;
The Synchrotron - A Proposed High Energy Particle Accelerator
Phys. Rev. 68 (1945) 143;

Reprinted in
The Physical Review - the First Hundred Years, AIP Press (1995) CD-ROM.

One of the most successful methods for accelerating charged particles to very high energies involves the repeated application of an oscillating electric field, as in the cyclotron. If a very large number of individual accelerations is required, there may be difficulty in keeping the particles in step with the electric field. In the case of the cyclotron this difficulty appears when the relativistic mass change causes an appreciable variation in the angular velocity of the particles.
The device proposed here makes use of a "phase stability'' possessed by certain orbits in a cyclotron. Consider, for example, a particle whose energy is such that its angular velocity is just right to match the frequency of the electric field. This will be called the equilibrium energy. Suppose further that the particle crosses the accelerating gaps just as the electric field passes through zero, changing in such a sense that an earlier arrival of the particle would result in an acceleration. This orbit is obviously stationary. To show that it is stable, suppose that a displacement in phase is made such that the particle arrives at the gaps too early. It is then accelerated; the increase in energy causes a decrease in angular velocity, which makes the time of arrival tend to become later. A similar argument shows that a change of energy from the equilibrium value tends, to correct itself. These displaced orbits will continue to oscillate, with both phase and energy varying about their equilibrium values.
In order to accelerate the particles it is now necessary to change the value of the equilibrium energy, which can be done by varying either the magnetic field or the frequency. While the equilibrium energy is changing, the phase of the motion will shift ahead just enough to provide the necessary accelerating force; the similarity of this behavior to that of a synchronous motor suggested the name of the device. (Extracted from the introductory part of the paper.).

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Invention of the principle of phase stability for accelerators.
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