Once one of the leading powers in the creation of charged particle accelerators, today Russia is forced to catch up with others. There is very little time – in order to be competitive, it is necessary to implement new projects. The state and prospects of this field of science were discussed on Tuesday at the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Opening the meeting, the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Alexander Sergeev, recalled that the accelerators that appeared 100 years ago changed science and were a very powerful tool for learning about nature and creating applications necessary for mankind. “Accelerators have come a long way – from small cyclotrons, 10 centimeters in diameter, to the giant Large Hadron Collider 27 kilometers in diameter,” Sergeev said.
Help “MK”. A charged particle accelerator is a device in which primary particles – electrons or protons – are accelerated under the influence of electric or magnetic fields, as well as secondary ones, which are generated by the interaction of primary particles with other substances.
In addition to fundamental physical research, flows of charged particles are used in medicine, industry, and agriculture. They sterilize medical devices, agricultural products, increasing the shelf life without the use of chemicals, and purify wastewater.
With the help of accelerated charged particles, new materials are created or the properties of existing ones are improved. For example, after processing polyethylene with them, it becomes more durable.
Perhaps one of the main areas of application of accelerators is radiology, where beams of charged particles are used to diagnose and treat complex tumors.
Academician Boris Sharkov recalled that once our country was one of the leaders in the development and creation of accelerators: “The first synchrotron of Vladimir Veksler, our first collider, created in 1965 in Novosibirsk, a linear accelerator, a method of electron cooling of charged particle beams proposed by Gershem Budker … The world’s first synchrophasotron was built in Dubna … “. The scientist noted that our specialists have always taken part in large international projects on equal terms.
“However, over the past 30 years, we have seen a reduction in the role of Russian centers associated with a reduction in the instrumental base, aging and decommissioning of facilities created back in the USSR,” Sharkov notes. – Against the background of this depression, the process has slowed down, there has been a lag in a number of areas, promising personnel are leaving for work abroad, in advanced research centers. Vital nuclear medicine and materials science now depend only on foreign suppliers. “
The difficult situation with accelerators for the treatment of cancer patients was confirmed by Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, surgeon-oncologist Andrei Kaprin:
“We cannot do without radiation therapy. This is our most interesting and powerful weapon, it is a pity that it is foreign. Neither software nor programs … we have no. <...> Of course, we need to continue developing, to move towards the creation of ion-proton therapy. We need at least 1-2 machines that would allow us to treat patients today. A fairly large percentage of them now need super-precision types of radiation … But we cannot fight, for example, with sarcoma, well, in no way. If we had ion-carbon irradiation, we could take (at the National Medical Research Center of Radiology) patients with sarcoma for treatment. And now we cannot send them to Japan either (because of the pandemic). “
Meanwhile, outstanding schools of accelerator physicists still exist in Russia, and there are separate accelerator complexes. For example, a very interesting direction is developing in Dubna at the Nuclotron with heavy ions. They not only destroy the DNA of astronauts and are very dangerous from the point of view of the development of oncological diseases, but, as recent experiments on primates have shown, they can also adversely affect cognitive functions, disrupting the functioning of the brain.
Scientists have developed a program for the development of accelerator topics in Russia, covering the entire spectrum of modern technologies. It is assumed that it will become a real locomotive, which, under the conditions of sanctions, will launch the production of its element base, “pull” the creation of modern microelectronics, microwave and vacuum technology.
Among the flagship projects that should be actively developed in the country, the accelerator NIKA (Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna), the Novosibirsk SKIF, the synchrotron complex of the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics in Sarov for testing the electronic base and electronic equipment for resistance to the effects of ionizing radiation from outer space are highlighted. Scientists also noted the hadron accelerator in Protvino near Moscow, as well as the Super S-Tau factory project. This is an electron-positron collider, which is being built on the basis of the Institute of Nuclear Physics. G.I.Budker SB RAS. The main purpose of experiments at the future facility is to study the processes of creation of charmed quarks and tau leptons (these are fundamental particles), to search for new physical effects that are not described by the Standard Model.
According to Sharkov, in addition to developing their projects, scientists need to maintain participation in such large international projects as Futures Cilcular Colliders. This will give our country access to the most advanced technologies. If the Large Hadron Collider has a diameter of 27 kilometers, “FCC” will take all 100. This, according to the academician, is a completely new level of accelerators.