PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Vivitron electrostatic particle accelerator under construction. Vivitron, the largest Van der Graaff generator in the world, can generate a potential of up to 35 MV (million volts). This will be used to accelerate ions of elements such as carbon to collide with other nuclei. Under the right conditions this creates superdeformation - a relatively stable state in which the rotating nuclei have an elliptical form. Gamma rays given off by these nuclei reveal much about the internal structure of the nucleus, and will be studied using the Eurogam II detector. Vivitron is at the Centre des Recherches Nucleaires, Strasbourg.
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