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Reaching the speed of light with the perfect wave

Behind the facade of a single-story building in Stutensee near Karlsruhe, they are busy tackling nothing less than solutions to key challenges in health and research. This is where TRUMPF Hüttinger manufactures what are known as transistor-based solid state power amplifiers. These are the driving force in particle accelerators used for basic research, materials research and cancer treatments. With the technology, they create the waves that propel the charged elementary particles in the accelerators. To be more precise, power electronics are used to accelerate particles close to the speed of light by amplifying radio frequency and microwaves.

This is what a solid-state power amplifier looks like from the inside

1. Power amplifiers

feed their energy into the accelerator at various points.

2. Monitoring system

monitors each individual amplifier unit.

3. Rack

By connecting several of these racks, the entire amplifier system in the particle accelerator can deliver a hundred kilowatts or more of power.

4. Chip technology

Integrated transistors provide the necessary power amplification.

5. Modular construction

Service engineers can quickly switch out amplifier units as needed.

6. Particle source

generates the particles to be accelerated.

7. Linear accelerator

The power amplifiers accelerate the directed particle beam in a vacuum.

8. Circular accelerator

In the ring-shaped part of the accelerator, the power amplifiers bring the particles up to enormous speeds.

9. Electromagnets

generate extremely strong electromagnetic fields. These focus and steer the particle beam.

10. Tumor treatment of a patient

The patient lies down, precisely aligned so that the particle beam delivers its energy only to the cancer cells and destroys them. Healthy tissue remains untouched.

The potential of particle accelerators in figures

(bil. €)

This is the size of the market for irradiation equipment in heavy ion and proton therapy for cancer.


The amount of nuclear waste could be reduced by this factor thanks to particle accelerators.

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