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Build your own demo of a particle accelerator!

This was originally posted by an I'bles user in the "Feedback" forum. I've suggested he repost his questions under Science, and hope to answer them there.

In the mean time, this video from the March 2008 issue of Symmetry Magazine (a joint SLAC/Fermilab publication) is really cute. The original article's video includes a bunch of related items which are worth checking out themselves.

The high voltage (at least 50kV, I think) DC supply needs to be pretty stable -- you can't just throw a rectifier bridge onto a wall cord, but other than that, the project would be extremely simple to build.

I've sent Dr. Johnson an e-mail to see if I can get more detailed specs.



Update 4 Jan 2009: Todd Johnson and I have exchanged a couple of e-mails about this project (d**n, I love the collegiality of the scientific world!).

For the DC power supply, he used a potted module (i.e., an enclosed unit with no accessible or dangerous components) designed for use in a negative ion generator (like the "Ionic Breeze"). He bought the unit surpus from http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=G9695 .

The bowl you see in the video was custom made from acrylic. I thought something like a Pyrex mixing bowl would work, but the "corner" where the flat base joins the spherical body introduces a barrier to the ball doing what it should do.

The coating on the ping-pong ball is something called http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=G16133
"wire glue"], touted as a substitute for solder. For this project, he covered the conductive paint with some clear Krylon for protection.

Dr. Johnson and I are discussing the possibility of collaborating on an Instructable for this project. As a result of the video publicity, he's already gotten some inquiries on how to build it, so this would be an appropriate venue. He has a substantial amount of performance data and physics background on the device, which we will include in the ultimate publication.

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nuraidai2 years ago

nice...

mnshbgm2 years ago

hey, i am planning on making this for a school assignment, but i was wondering what you'd recommend for the power supply!

kelseymh (author)  mnshbgm2 years ago

I see that the link in the text is "sold out." You want a high voltage _potted_ DC supply (that is, a completely sealed unit with no exposed parts except for the wires). If you have access to a "plasma ball" or "negative ion generator" you could remove the supply from one of those. If you have a decent small electronics store in your local area, you should talk to the folks who work there; they are likely to have good recommendations.

mnshbgm2 years ago

hey, i am planning on making this for a school assignment, but i was wondering what you'd recommend for the power supply!

gabperez5 years ago
why it needs high voltage and not low voltage, is the speed dependent on how high the voltage is?
kelseymh (author)  gabperez5 years ago
Yes, the speed is dependent on the voltage. Voltage is like gravity (steepness) or pressure: at low voltage, the charge doesn't get pushed very much, so doesn't move very fast.
@kelseymh...did Todd Johnson replied on what is the range of required voltage?
From Kelsey's original post:

"The high voltage (at least 50kV, I think) DC supply needs to be pretty stable . . . "
my e-mail is , victoria-nsecrets@hotmail.com
Hi, someone can send me an email saying how can i turn on this, i have to put the flyback somewhere or the lamp? I have to hurry up , my school project is for 27 of october
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