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What is the TWAC project?

Particle accelerators are devices of primary importance in a large range of applications such as fundamental particle physics, nuclear physics, light sources, imaging, neutron sources, and transmutation of nuclear waste. They are also used every day for cargo inspection, medical diagnostics, and radiotherapy worldwide. Electron is the easiest particle to produce and manipulate, resulting in unequaled energy over cost ratio.

However, there is an urgent and growing need to reduce the footprint of accelerators in order to lower their cost and environmental impact, from the future high-energy colliders to the portable relativistic electron source for industrial and societal applications. The radical new vision we propose will revolutionize the use of accelerators in terms of footprint, beam time delivery, and electron beam properties (stability, reproducibility, monochromaticity, femtosecond-scale bunch duration), which is today only a dream for a wide range of users. We propose developing a new structure sustaining the accelerating wave pushing up the particle energy, which will enable democratizing the access to femtosecond-scale electron bunch for ultrafast phenomena studies.

This light and compact accelerator, for which we propose breaking through the current technological barriers, will open the way toward compact industrial accelerators with an energy gain gradient of more than 100 MeV/m and enlarge time access in the medical environment (preclinical and clinical phase studies). This new accelerating structure will offer a compact layout based on a multi-skill competence (nonlinear optics, High power optical source, accelerators, dosimetry) secured by industry partners. Its size and weight will for example enable it to be mounted on a robotic arm, to move around a patient for medical applications or material inspection for industrial applications.

The TWAC project began on the 1st of April 2022 and will last 4 years.


EIC Pathfinder Open

TWAC is funded by the EIC Pathfinder Open 2021 of the Horizon Europe program. This program supports projects that are aimed at exploring innovative and risky ideas, likely to lead to the development of new technologies and, ultimately, disruptive innovations.

The success rate for obtaining an EIC is 6.45% for the year 2021. France has 36 laureates: 6 in coordination and 30 as partners. The TWAC project is therefore one of the 6 French projects in coordination.

It is also the first EIC project within the Institut national de physique nucléaire et de physique des particules of the CNRS, as well as in accelerator physics.

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Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or EISMEA. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.