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What is a Linear Accelerator and why are Instrumentation Amplifiers used?

There are two main types of particle accelerator: Linear accelerators (LINAC) are a type of particle accelerator that sends charged subatomic particles at high speed to its intended target along a linear beamline.

Linear accelerators have many applications but they are most commonly used within medical facilities. They are used for external beam radiation treatments for cancer patients, delivering high-energy x-rays or electrons to the location of a diagnosed tumor. There are also a number of existing and proposed scientific linear accelerators such as, SNS at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, ISIS at The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and ESS in Lund which is under construction, where the accelerated particles are used to generate neutrons for microscopy.

Circular accelerators can be used for medical applications including cancer treatment and the manufacture of radioisotopes for both treatment and diagnosis purposes. They are used for collider applications in high energy physics research facilities include the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN and the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven Nation Lab.

High Power Amplifiers are used to drive the accelerating structures within these accelerators. These range from high power magnetron and klystron amplifiers to lower power Instrumentation Amplifiers. These are used in this type of application due to the levels of power accuracy and stability achieved.

TMD’s new modular Instrumentation Amplifier design (the PTCM Series) is also particularly appropriate in these environments. In particular the units feature major improvements to user interface and maintenance including:

  • Advanced self-diagnostics
  • Ethernet interface
  • Remote management and diagnostics
  • VSWR reflected power protection
  • Plug and play field replaceable power supplies

For more information on our range of modular TWT (Travelling Wave Tube) and Solid State Instrumentation Amplifiers see our Instrumentation Amplifiers product page.

TMD also offers ultra-high power solid-state amplifiers purpose designed for accelerator and medical applications, these cover the 20 MHz to 1.3 GHz frequency range and can be configured to provide powers (both Pulse and CW) in the range from tens of kilowatts to megawatts.