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If I wanted to build a small linear accelerator what how would I make the electrostatic generator? Answered

I am going to build a small linear accelerator like the one rutherford used to bounce alpha particles off of a sheet of gold foil. Actually that is exactly what I am going to make. The only thing is that I am not sure how I would generate the electrostatic field. Would a van de graaff generator work, or would I need something different? if I do need something different how would I make it?


Dang! I thought Rutherford's alfa source was something radioactive. Now I'm going to look that up.

Yeah. Radium.

I suppose an accelerator would work too. I've always wondered about the plumbing on these ion accelerators.  How to do you get vacuum on the target side, and low-pressure helium gas, or ions, on the other side?  With a CRT you can sort of heat up a filament and "boil off" some electrons on the cathode side.  Is there a similar trick for thermionic emmission,  boiling off positive ions, like H+, or He+2, on the anode side of a tube?

I dunno, the answers are probably out there. Reminds me of something I bookmarked one time.  I don't know if you've seen this one or not.  Looks like Fred's using some kind of voltage multiplier to supply the HV.

Yes, a Van de graaff generator should work.

AFAIK, he used a Cockroft and Walton multiplier - Van de Graaf's weren't invented then.


I found out multipliers weren't invented then either. Rutherford published the paper saying the atom had a positive nucleus in 1911.

Well I am not worried about historical accuracy so much as getting it to work. does that mean I would be able to use a van de graaff generator?

Driving linacs is what it was invented for, if I remember correctly.


that's what I thought. I'm going to be accelerating alpha particles, so i know I am going to put the ground end behind the target, but would that be the ground from the bottom brush of the generator, or the top brush?