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Indiana University Bloomington

Applications of Physics: Accelerator Physics

The technology used in most modern accelerators was originally developed in the 1930s for physics research.  Ion implantation of semiconductor materials, now the largest industrial application of accelerators, was first proposed by William Shockley in the 1950s. Of the more than 30,000 particle accelerators that have been built worldwide over the past 60 years, more than half have been used for industrial purposes.

Particle accelerators are widely used for treating cancer and for generating particle beams in the areas of communications, transportation, the environment, security, health, and safety. Accelerators are important in terms both of the global economy and quality of life. Accelerators are used to explore for oil, gas, and minerals; sterilize food, wastewater, and medical supplies; and aid in the development of drugs and biomaterials. The use of industrial accelerators has resulted in the faster and cheaper production of better parts for medical devices, automobiles, aircraft, and virtually all modern electronics.

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Recommended electives in Accelerator Physics

P 318 Scattering Methods in Materials Science
P 331 Electromagnetism I
P 332 Electromagnetism II
P 410 Computer Applications in Physics I
P 411 Computer Applications in Physics II
P 453 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
P 454 Modern Physics
P 460 Modern Optics
P 470 Introduction to Accelerator Physics

Advanced Degrees

  • Master of Science in Beam Physics and Technology
    • Degree Requirements:
      30 credit hours including -
      IU/USPAS Courses
      Classical Mechanics and Electromagnetism
      Master's Thesis
      Final Examination or oral defense of thesis

For useful career information, see the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook