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synchrotron radiation

Electromagnetic radiation produced when electrically charged particles (for instance, electrons) are made to follow a curved trajectory in a particle accelerator, or when these particles undergo comparable accelerations in nature.

Due to effects that can be derived from special relativity, synchrotron radiation is densely concentrated and very intense. These properties, together with the fact that it is very easy to produce synchrotron radiation with a clearly defined frequency, make this type of radiation a valuable tool for research not only in basic physics, but also in biology and medicine.

When it was first discovered, synchrotron radiation was an (annoying!) side effect, observable at particle accelerators which were used for research into the basic properties of elementary particles. Nowadays, there many accelerators whose main purposes is the production of this radiation! One of them can be seen on the page E=mc2 in the chapter Special relativity of Elementary Einstein: the VUV ring at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Here are some links to the webpages of some synchrotron radiation laboratories:

National Synchrotron Light Source at the Brookhaven National Laboratory
Hamburg Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (HASYLAB)