Connecting the accelerator dots

9 November 2023

Unifying Physics of Accelerators, Lasers and Plasma, 2nd Edition, by Andrei Seryi and Elena Seraia, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group

Plasma wakefield acceleration
Surfing Advanced accelerator concepts such as plasma wakefield acceleration are among many topics covered. Credit: AWAKE Collaboration

The book Unifying Physics of Accelerators, Lasers and Plasma, by Andrei Seryi and Elena Seraia, provides a comprehensive overview of the fundamental principles and physics of three distinct areas: accelerators, lasers and plasma, bridging them via inventive principles that offer readers a unified perspective. The strength of the book lies in its accessibility and clarity.

Originally published in 2016, the first edition was picked up by CERN’s “eBooks for all!” programme to be converted to open access. The second edition, released in April 2023, has been updated throughout to cover new and essential areas in accelerator science. The material for the book originated from lectures and courses with the aim to teach undergraduate and graduate students several physics disciplines in a coherent way, while at the same time ensuring that this training would develop and stimulate innovativeness. It is written with a fine balance between technical rigour and a conversational tone, avoiding heavy mathematics and using back-of-the-envelope-type derivations and estimations wherever possible. This makes the book inspiring for both experts seeking in-depth knowledge and curious minds looking for an introduction to the field.

With the authors’ systematic approach, readers can easily follow the logical progression of ideas, facilitating comprehension and aiding future reference. They introduce the reader to the basics of accelerators and the art of inventiveness, and provide a solid foundation for understanding the key concepts of accelerators, lasers and plasma, and how they can be integrated and used together to advance scientific research.

Unifying Physics of Accelerators, Lasers and Plasma

The book includes a wide range of relevant topics such as beam dynamics, cavities, synchrotron radiation, laser and plasma physics and their role in accelerators. It then delves into advanced accelerator concepts such as radiation generation, wakefield acceleration and laser-plasma accelerators, free-electron lasers and plasma-based light sources. The authors also weave in the historical development of accelerator, laser and plasma technologies, highlighting milestones that have shaped the scientific landscape. They also extensively explore the next generation of accelerators, cutting-edge technologies and state-of-the-art facilities employed in these fields. New chapters added to the second edition, which are crucial in the accelerator area and relevant for future projects, include topics such as superconducting technology, beam cooling, final focusing, polarisation, beam stability, energy recovery, advanced technologies and no fewer than 40 inventive principles.

Also remarkable are the more than 380 illustrative diagrams that allow the reader to visualise the content for a better understanding. In the eBook most of the pictures have been changed to even more attractive colour versions.

The authors commit to scientific integrity, reinforcing their authority in the field. In addition, their pedagogical strength and clear aim to help the reader develop a deeper understanding of the material is emphasised with numerous end-of-chapter exercises. In the second edition, the guide to the solutions has been added directly into the book.

This book is the first of its kind where the three disciplines of accelerators, lasers and plasmas are connected towards building more compact accelerators. One of the highlights is the authors’ emphasis on the potential synergistic effects that can arise from integrating these three areas. With its accessible explanations, cutting-edge research coverage, and compelling arguments for interdisciplinary collaboration, this is an indispensable resource for physicists, researchers and students alike.

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