Fundamentals of Accelerator Physics and Technology

(with Simulations and Measurement Lab)

Summer 2019 USPAS session

U.S. Particle Accelerator School hosted by University of New Mexico

June 17-28, 2019, Albuquerque, New Mexico


  • Pavel Snopok, Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Linda Spentzouris, Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Elvin Harms, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
  • Bob Zwaska, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
  • Josiah Kunz, Anderson University
  • Nicole Neveu, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
  • Tanaz Mohayai, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
  • Robert Hipple, Niowave, Inc.

Lecture Material

This course relies heavily on the prior work by Michael Syphers and Linda Spentzouris. Kudos to them! We will be tweaking the material as we go along.

Purpose and Audience

The purpose of this course is to introduce the students to the physics and technology of particle beam accelerators. This course is suitable for last year undergraduate students or students from other fields considering accelerator physics as a possible career. This course also can provide a broader background to engineers and technicians working in the field of accelerator technology.


Credit-seeking students: Courses in special relativity (at the level of French, “Special Relativity”, or Resnick, “Special Relativity”), classical mechanics (lower division level), and electrodynamics (at the level of “Introduction to Electrodynamics” by David J. Griffiths) at a junior undergraduate level or higher.

Audit-only students: Courses in College Physics and first year Calculus.

It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that he or she meets the course prerequisites or has equivalent experience.


This introductory course tries to avoid heavy mathematical treatment and will focus on the fundamental principles of particle accelerators and beam dynamics. Fundamental physics and technologies of particle acceleration are explored, with emphasis on basic relationships, definitions, and applications found in the field of particle accelerators. On completion of this course, the students are expected to understand the basic workings of accelerators and their components. Furthermore, they will comprehend basic principles and definitions of beam dynamics and will be able to analyze experimental observations in terms of fundamental beam dynamics.

Instructional Method

This course will offer a series of lectures during morning sessions, followed by afternoon laboratory sessions. The laboratory sessions will introduce students to computer simulations and measurements of magnets and rf cavities. The lab course will emphasize the comparison of measurement data with computer simulation results. The students will be required to write lab reports and will be graded on them. Homework problems will be assigned each day and instructors will be available to help answer questions about the homework and lectures during the evening exercise sessions and the weekend. There will be a final exam on the last day of the class.

Course Content

Introductory material will include discussions of classical dynamics and relativity, synchrotron radiation, the historical development of accelerators, and uses of particle accelerators. Basic components such as bending and focusing magnets, electrostatic deflectors, and radio frequency accelerating structures will be described. Comparisons between hadron and electron accelerators will be presented, and examples of modern accelerator facilities discussed as well as state-of-the-art accelerator R&D.

Reading Requirements

A hardbound copy of the textbook, An Introduction to the Physics of High Energy Accelerators, Wiley Publishers (1993) by D.A. Edwards and M.J. Syphers (Edwards and Syphers, 1993), will be provided by the school during check-in. The textbook can also be found online. If the student’s institution has an agreement with Wiley Publishers, it may be possible to download a pdf of the textbook ahead of the school. The student may also want to read “An Introduction to Particle Accelerators,” Oxford University Press (2001) by E.J.N. Wilson (Wilson, 2001).

The flow of the course will not follow either text directly, but cross-references between daily material and sections of the above textbooks are provided in the Suggested Reading section of the web site.

Grading Policy

Students will be evaluated based on performance: homework assignments (40% of final grade), laboratory reports (30% of final grade), final exam (30% of final grade).

Homework Problems

The student will be expected to turn in all problems. Each assignment contains 4 to 5 problems to be solved. Homework is due before 9:00 a.m each due date.

Lab/Computer Sessions

During the afternoons and evenings students have access to laboratory equipment and PCs for hands-on measurements and simulations. Worksheets will be provided with questions to be completed and turned in. Due to the number of students and limited amount of equipment, students will work in teams and rotate through each of the lab stations and computers according to the schedule in the "Laboratory Sessions" section. Each worksheet is expected to be turned in at the beginning of the lab period, two days after the lab was originally scheduled. The final lab will be due Friday morning of the second week. The classroom will be open in the evenings for Hardware AND Computer lab work. The USPAS Computer Lab will also be available in the evenings, though shared with other classes.


Edwards, D.A., and M.J. Syphers. 1993. An Introduction to the Physics of High Energy Accelerators. 2nd ed. New York, New York: Wiley.

Wilson, Edmund. 2001. An Introduction to Particle Accelerators. Oxford: Oxford University Press.