IEEE Milestone: Stanford Linear Accelerator Center


Milestone: Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, 1962

Dedication Date: February 1, 1984

The basic research tool at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center is an intense beam of electrons that have been accelerated by an electric field.

The two-mile linear accelerator produces this field using high-power microwaves traveling through an evacuated waveguide. Electrons injected into one end of this pipe are continuously accelerated by this traveling field to very high energies.

Although the principle is straightforward, the application is not. The engineering problems included manufacturing a thousand sections of precision copper waveguide, aligning these sections over a two-mile length, producing high-power pulsed microwaves, and safely handling the intense high-energy beam of electrons.

For more information on this Milestone, see the ‎IEEE Milestone webpage.



“The Stanford two-mile accelerator, the longest in the world, accelerates electrons to the very high energy needed in the study of subatomic particles and forces. Experiments performed here have shown that the proton, one of the building blocks of the atom, is in turn composed of smaller particles now called quarks. Other research here has uncovered new families of particles and demonstrated subtle effects of the weak nuclear force. This research requires the utmost precision in the large and unique electromechanical devices and systems that accelerate, define, deliver and store the beams of particles, and in the detectors that analyze the results of the particle interactions.”

Stanford Linear Accelerator
2575 Sand Hill Road
Menlo Park, CA

Note: The plaque can be viewed in the visitors center of the
Stanford Linear Accelerator.

Additional IEEE Section information: ASME National Historic Engineering Landmark
jointly designated with IEEE.


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