30km of copper wire at -269 degree C
The proton beam is accelerated by a cyclotron, no bigger than a family car. The cyclotron needs to be very cold and uses superconducting magnets cooled by liquid helium -2690C and coils of copper wire 30km (almost 19 miles) long.
This 90 ton cyclotron is capable of accelerating a proton stream made up of ionized hydrogen gas to two-thirds the speed of light (over100,000 miles per second). That’s fast enough to travel around the world at the equator in about a quarter of a second, and fast enough to hit the moon in a little under two seconds.
Proton beam therapy is a specialist form of radiotherapy that targets certain cancers very precisely, increasing success rates and reducing side-effects. It targets tumours with less damage to surrounding healthy tissue and is particularly appropriate for certain cancers in children who are at risk of lasting damage to organs that are still growing.
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Image: The Christie