Skip to main content
Indiana University Bloomington
  • People

PHYS-P 470/570 Introduction to Accelerator Physics

Credit hours: 3

Course Description:
This course is an introduction to the underlying principles and uses of the nearly 14,000 particle accelerators that are used worldwide in medicine, industry, and scientific research. The course is suitable for senior undergraduate and entry-level graduate students in physics and engineering or students from other fields with a particular interest in accelerator-based science.

This course is offered through the U.S. Particle Accelerator School (USPAS). Students register for this course through the Physics office; see your advisor for assistance. Grades are transferred from USPAS to IU. Courses/Programs are offered twice per year: January and June.


  • P221, P222, P301
  • P331


  • P332, P460, P453, P454
    May also be taken concurrently

Course Objectives:

This course focuses on the physical principles of particle accelerators and beams. Lectures will review and synthesize concepts from special relativity and electromagnetics in the context of particle accelerators with an emphasis on basic relationships, definitions, and applications of radio frequency accelerators found in the fields of sub-atomic physics, synchrotron light sources, radiation therapy, and industrial processing. 
Upon completing this course, students should:

  • understand the basic workings of accelerators,
  • understand how to measure the characteristics of the beams they produce, and
  • be able to analyze experimental observations in terms of fundamental beam dynamics.

Course Topics:

  • A review of special relativity and electromagnetic theory
  • The utility of accelerators in science, medicine and industry
  • The historical development of accelerators
  • Applications and principles of acceleration
  • Linear accelerators
  • Synchrotrons
  • Storage rings
  • Bending and focusing magnets
  • Electrostatic deflectors
  • Beam diagnostics
  • Radio frequency accelerating structures
  • Magnet design will be introduced
  • Particle beam optics
  • Longitudinal and transverse beam dynamics
  • Synchrotron and betatron particle motion
  • Special topics (synchrotron radiation sources, free electron lasers, high energy colliders, and accelerators for radiation therapy)

Required Textbook:
"An Introduction to the Physics of High Energy Accelerators", by D.A. Edwards and M.J. Syphers, Wiley Interscience, 1992. (provided by the USPAS)

Supplemental Texts:
Optional reading materials will be supplied in electronic form.