What is an Accelerator?

A high-energy accelerator is a device that creates a high-energy state by accelerating particles such as electrons and protons to near the speed of light.

Low-energy accelerators, such as the cathode-ray tube used in TVs, can be found nearby, which was common during the Showa era.

Since high-energy accelerators require extensive facilities, they are installed, maintained, and managed by Inter-University Research Institutes and are open to researchers from universities and research institutes across Japan.

Why Accelerate?

High-energy accelerators are essential for letting high-energy particles collide with each other or conducting experiments that use light emitted from high-energy particles. KEK has a variety of high-energy accelerators to meet the needs of experiments.

How Accelerate?

You can accelerate charged particles using electricity. There are two types of accelerators: linear accelerators, which accelerate in a straight line with electric force, and circular accelerators, which accelerate in a circle with electric force and magnetic force combined.

What do you Do at KEK?

For example, we are conducting research that can only be done with accelerators, such as recreating the universe’s beginning and creating beams that cannot be produced in a laboratory. Our research fields are diverse, including space, matter, and life.

Developing, Building, and Operating Accelerators

Accelerator Laboratory
Applied Research Laboratory

Using accelerators

Institute of Particle and Nuclear Studies
Institute of Materials Structure Science

History of Accelerator Science

With the development of quantum mechanics in the first half of the 20th century, theoretical research on atomic nuclei and elementary particles progressed, and there was a growing worldwide need to conduct experiments with higher-energy particles.

The Institute for Nuclear Research at the University of Tokyo began considering the establishment of a “High Energy Physics Laboratory” that could be used jointly by universities. After discussing various candidate locations in the Kanto region, they decided on Tsukuba Science City, whose construction was boosted in the 1970s.

Updated 2024/03/14