Academic Year 2022/2023 - Teacher: DAVID MASCALI

Expected Learning Outcomes

The course aims to give to the students an in-depth knowledge of all the Physics principles of Particle Accelerators, and to show in detail the technology that allows to realize these machines. Applications of accelerators in fields other than nuclear and particle physics research will also be shown. Particular attention will be given to medical applications, including the physical knowledge related to the interaction of radiation with matter.

 Knowledge and understanding

Critical understanding of the main concepts underlying the electron and ion beams dynamics in circular and linear accelerators.

Understanding of the fundamental physical mechanisms involved in the application of electron, photon and ion beams in the medical field.

Ability to identify the essential elements of phenomena related to particle acceleration and to their production, in terms of order of magnitude and level of approximation required, being able to make the required approximations. Ability to use the tool of analogy to apply known solutions in the field of particle-electromagnetic field interaction and plasma physics to new problems (problem solving) in different contexts of nuclear physics and its applications to medicine.

 Communication skills

Communication in the field of particle accelerators, plasma physics and applications to medicine

 Learning skills.

Acquisition of cognitive tools for the continuous updating of knowledge and ability to access specialized literature both in the field of accelerator physics, plasma and advanced medical techniques based on particle accelerators (radiology, nuclear medicine and oncological radiotherapy) and in the field of clinical dosimetry.

Course Structure

In presence lectures, or, if necessary, remotely 

If the teaching is given in a mixed or remote mode, the necessary changes may be introduced with respect to what was previously stated, in order to comply with the program envisaged and reported in the syllabus.

Exams can also be carried out electronically, should the conditions require it.

Required Prerequisites

Electromagnetism and Maxwell equations. Structure of Matter and related topics.

Detailed Course Content

Electric and magnetic fields; the electromagnetic field. Equations of motion of charged particles in magnetic fields. Short overview of special relativity: energy and momentum, energy in the center of mass in acceleration with a fixed target vs. colliders schemes. Laws and techniques of particle beams focusing. Acceleration theorem. Radio-frequency cavities. Systems for the production, guidance and transmission of electromagnetic waves.

Particle beam transport systems: equations of motion; Magnetic and electrostatic lenses; dipoles, quadrupoles and sextupoles; Selection in energy and charge; magnetic spectrometers.

 Main characteristics of ion beams: emittance, brightness, luminosity.

Plasma physics: Definition of plasma. Definition of plasma temperature. Debye shielding. Plasma oscillations. Characteristic parameters of plasmas. Collisional and non-collisional plasmas. Kinetic description of plasmas. Distribution function. Moments of the distribution function. Vlasov equation. Magnetic confinement. Main structures and configurations for magnetic confinement. Plasma ion sources: physical principles and technological characteristics.

 Principles of operation and technology of the most popular particle accelerators:

- Electrostatic accelerators

- LINACS: operating principles, phase stability, focusing

- RFQ: operating principles, phase stability, focusing

- Cyclotrons: operating principles, phase stability, focusing

- Synchrotrons: operating principles, phase stability, focusing

- Dielectric Laser Accelerators: operating principles, phase stability, focusing

 Interaction of radiation and particles with matter: Introduction to dosimetry.

Clinical dosimetry of electron, photon and hadron beams. Clinical Dosimetry Detectors. Gas detectors, calorimeters, solid state, thermoluniscent and optical detectors. Absolute dosimetry of radiation from an X-ray tube (30 - 300 KVp). Basic elements of an X-ray tube. Quality checks on an X-ray tube. Dosimetric instrumentation. Parameters that characterize the beam. Determination of the absolute dose in water of a low and medium energy X-ray beam (30-300 KVp). Dosimetric Worksheet

Particle accelerators based on high power lasers: Eulerian and Lagrangian viewpoints. Strength agents. Formation of high temperature plasmas. Production of plasma waves and acceleration of electrons and ions in high temperature plasmas.

Application of the Accerators to medicine: Morphological and functional imaging; Imaging machines (CT, PET and MRI); production of radiopharmaceuticals; accelerators for radiotherapy with external beams (Cyclotrons, Linac and synchrotrons)

Textbook Information

The Transport of Charged Particle Beams, Banford A. P., (Spon, 1966)

Focusing of Charged Particles, ed. Albert Septier, Academic Press, New York, 1967


Particle Accelerators and Their Uses, By Waldemar Scharf, Francis T. Cole

An Introduction to the Physics of High Energy Accelerators, D. A. Edwards and M. J. Syphers, (Wiley, 1993)


Engines of Discovery: A Century of Particle Accelerators, A. Sessler and E. Wilson, (World Scientific, 2007)


Optics of Charged Particles, Hermann Wollnik (1987)


Karl L. Brown, F. Rothaker, David C. Carey and C. Iselin, “TRANSPORT, a Computer Program for Designing Charged Particle Beam Transport System” SLAC Report N° 91, Rev.2, 1977

Course Planning

 SubjectsText References
1Intro and short notes on special relativity, properties of particle beams(4hours)
2Particle dynamics in electric and magnetic fields, emittance, brilliance, luminosity (4 hours)P.J. Bryant, "Introduction to Transfer Lines and Circular Machines" CERN accellerators School, CERN 84-04
3Electromagnetism for Particle Accelerators: structures, cavities, waveguides (2 hours)T. Wangler, Principles of RF Linear Accelerators, Chapter 1 (Wiley, New York, 1998).
4Plasma Physics and Ion Sources: physics and technology (4 hours)R. Geller, Electron Cyclotron Resonance Ion Sources and ECR Plasmas (Institute of Physics, Philadelphia, PA, 1996).
5Detectors and Diagnostics for ion sources and accelerators (2 hours)B. Wolf, Handbook of Ion Sources (CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 1995).R. Geller, Electron Cyclotron Resonance Ion Sources and ECR Plasmas (Institute of Physics, Philadelphia, PA, 1996). 
6Linear Accelerators: RFQ and LINACs (4 hours)M. Vretenar. Linear accelerators (2013). P.J. Bryant, "Introduction to Transfer Lines and Circular Machines" CERN accellerators School, CERN 84-04
7Innovative linear accelerators: Dielectric Laser Accelerators (2 hours)R. Joel England et al., “Dielectric Laser Accelerators”, Rev. Mod. Phys. 86, 1337 
8Cyclotrons and Synchrotrons (4 hours)J. J. Livingood, Principles of Cyclic Particle Accelerators (1961, D Van Nostrand Company)V. L. Smirnov. The cyclotron and its modeling. Physics of Particles and Nuclei, Volume 52, Issue 5, p.913-996.
9Laser based acceleration: physics and technology (6 hours)Applications of Laser-Driven Particle AccelerationEdited ByPaul Bolton, Katia Parodi, Jörg Schreiber,
10Applications of Particle Accelerators to Medicine (4 hours)CAS Cern Accelerator School, " Cyclotrons, linacs and Their application", 96-02
11Radiation-Matter interaction: principles of Dosimetry (4 hours)F.H. Attix "Introduction to Radiological Physics and Radiation Dosimetry" Wiley VCH


Learning Assessment Procedures

Final oral exam. Through questions relating to qualifying points of the various parts of the program,  the level of overall knowledge acquired by the candidate will be evaluated, and also his ability to critically address the topics studied and to relate the various parts of the program and the topics covered. The ability to report examples, language properties and clarity of presentation will also be evaluated.