A handcrafted particle accelerator
August 22, 2013
I love the idea of a handcrafted particle accelerator #Craftsmanship.
Patrick Stevenson Keating created a handcrafted glass particle accelerator in what I would describe as an act of true craftsmanship. The piece consists of a series of organically-shaped hand-blown glass bulbs – each attached to a pump via a tube to create a vacuum. When the button is pushed, a voltage of 45,000V is applied across two electrodes. The huge potential difference forces the electrons to gather at the tip of the brass cathode tube inside the rubber bung. When the opposite voltage is applied to the anode disc at the other end of the internal tube, it rips the electrons, accelerating them towards the end of the glass bulb. As the electrons reach the disc, they begin to collide, losing energy and emitting some of this as visible light. Some, however, accelerate through the anode dics, and collide with the phosphorus lining of the glass vessel. This reaction causes photons of light to be released, resulting in visible specks of light.
Go on, ‘have a go’ as they like to say in Australia.