Alternating Gradient Synchrotron

The Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS) is a particle accelerator located at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island, New York, USA.

The Alternating Gradient Synchrotron was built on the innovative concept of the alternating gradient, or strong-focusing principle, developed by Brookhaven physicists. This breakthrough concept in accelerator design allowed scientists to accelerate protons to energies that would have been otherwise unachievable. The AGS became the world's premiere accelerator when it reached its design energy of 33 billion electron volts (GeV) on July 29, 1960.

Until 1968, the AGS was the highest energy accelerator in the world, slightly higher than its 28 GeV sister machine, the Proton Synchrotron at CERN, the European laboratory for high-energy physics. While today's newest accelerators can reach energies in the trillion electron volt region, the AGS has earned researchers three Nobel Prizes and today serves as the injector for Brookhaven's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider; it remains the world's highest intensity high-energy proton accelerator.

The AGS Booster, constructed in 1991, further augments the capabilities of the AGS, enabling it to accelerate more intense proton beams and heavy ions such as Gold. Brookhaven's linear accelerator (LINAC) provides 200 million electron volt (MeV) protons to the AGS Booster, and the Tandem Van de Graaff accelerator provides other ions to the AGS Booster. The AGS Booster then accelerates these particles for injection into the AGS. The AGS Booster also provides particle beams to the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory.

The work performed at the accelerator lead to three Nobel Prizes:

* 1976: Samuel C. C. Ting discovered the J part of the J/ψ and the charm quark.

* 1980: James Cronin and Val Fitch discovered CP violation by experimenting with K-mesons.

* 1988: The Nobel Prize went for 1962 pioneering work: the discovery of the muon neutrino. The prize was awarded to Leon Lederman, Melvin Schwartz and Jack Steinberger.

Currently the primary function of AGS is to pre-accelerate ions for the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, also operated by BNL.


* Abraham Pais (1988). Inward Bound: of matter and forces in the physical world. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198519974.


* Brookhaven National Laboratory: Alternating Gradient Synchrotron web page

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