Maker's Name: 
High Voltage Engineering Corp. Burlington, Massachusetts, USA.
Where made: 
Where used: 
UQ research Labs
66 × 66 × 230 cm


This item represents the 1970s in the '100 Years of Physics at UQ Tour'.

In the 1970s, research began in several other areas besides ionospheric physics. These included theoretical astrophysics and experimental spectroscopy.

Purchased second hand from the  Australian National University in Canberra, this accelerator was used by the  Department's Beam Foil Group. The van de Graaff generated a collimated beam of  40Ar+ ions of energy 800 keV that struck an ultrathin carbon foil.  The ions were excited into higher energy levels, relaxing in a few nanoseconds by emitting light. Measurement of the light intensity gave information useful in the interpretation of astronomical observations. In the work described in the  paper referred to below, the polarisation of excited levels in the ions was measured and the effect of polarisation resulting from optical cascades on time-resolved quantum beat measurements was investigated.


We have preserved only the accelerator, and not the pressure chamber that enclosed it, or the evacuated beamlines. The metal shell terminal at the top of the apparatushas been lifted to  allow vision of what it covered. A rubber belt carries charge up to the top where it collects on the polished dome, raising the potential by up to 1.2 million volts.You can see the belt driven by the motor at the base and gauges for measurement of the pressure of the ion source gas. Concentric cooling coils surround the base.



This item is part of the UQ Physics Museum ‘100 Years of Physics at UQ’ Tour
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