The 520 MeV cyclotron was declared commissioned in February 1976. Despite the pinwheel shape, the 520 MeV cyclotron doesn’t spin. An electric field changes direction 23 million times per second to accelerate charged particles to 224,000 kilometres per second inside a high vacuum chamber. To put this into perspective, travelling at this speed would send you to the moon and back in 3.4 seconds.
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Key capabilities that set the TRIUMF cyclotron apart have allowed it to remain on the forefront of science after 45-years in operation:
In this case H-minus ions cross the edges of the magnets at extremely low angles reaching 72 degrees at the outer orbits. High magnetic fields at high energies will detach the extra electron. For this reason the peak field is low making the cyclotron anomalously large for its top energy. This combination creates a huge advantage in extraction flexibility.
The cyclotron colors were selected by Canadian artist, B.C. Binning, making it TRIUMF’s first Arts & Culture collaboration. The colors were intended to serve as a wayfinding and safety countermeasure at the time, supporting visual orientation within a large and symmetrical structure.
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