BELLA: Accelerating Science by Accelerating Electrons: Berkeley Lab scientists stunned the world in 2006 when they proved they could accelerate electrons to very high energies (1 GeV, or a billion electron volts) in a distance of centimeters rather than hundreds of meters. Using the same concepts, those scientists plan to take the project to the next level and build a laser-based accelerator capable of zapping electron beams to energies exceeding 10 GeV in a distance of just one meter.
When completed in about four years, the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator, or BELLA, will demonstrate the promise of a novel and compact method of accelerating high-energy particles, by making use of a series of synchronized laser systems. The results will be of interest not only to high-energy particle physicists but also to chemists, biologists, doctors, and national security officials.
Related reading from Berkeley Labs: BELLA – The Next Stage in Laser Wakefield Acceleration