Surfing wakefields to create smaller accelerators

CERN is famous for its big machines, for studying the tiniest constituents of matter to answer the biggest questions about the universe. Edda Gschwendtner is looking at radical yet simple ways of making our enormous machines smaller and more affordable.

Edda Gschwendtner

Edda Gschwendtner, physicist, is the project leader of CERN’s plasma wakefield acceleration experiment, AWAKE. The need for ever-increasing particle energies to probe the fundamental building blocks of nature have led to machines of gigantic sizes. AWAKE pursues a novel technology that produces accelerating fields 1000 times higher than those achieved with conventional techniques. This will allow us to push the energy frontier of future accelerators while significantly decreasing the size of the machines themselves.

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