Are proton beams created in particle accelerators a form of nuclear radiation?


As the title suggests, please help I couldn’t find a definitive answer on this.

In: 8

So, you know that everything is made up of tiny, tiny things called atoms, right? Well, those atoms are made up of even tinier things called protons, neutrons, and electrons.

When we talk about nuclear radiation, we mean energy that comes from the nucleus of an atom. And protons are part of the nucleus, so they can give off nuclear radiation.

Now, in a particle accelerator, scientists use a lot of energy to speed up protons really, really fast. When those fast-moving protons hit a target, they can release a lot of energy in the form of radiation.

So, to answer your question, yes, the proton beams created in particle accelerators can be a form of nuclear radiation!

Depends on the definition.

– Nuclear radiation is sometimes used to define emissions from an atom’s nucleus, like during radioactive decay. In that context the protons in the accelerator aren’t that kind of radiation as they originate from hydrogen gas, which is heated up so much that it becomes a plasma and the electrons become removed from the hydrogen atoms, leaving just the proton. This is done in a specific component called a duoplasmatron.
– In the definition as a synonym of ionising radiation, so radiation with the potential to ‘mess with’ the nucleus of an atom it collides with, then it includes those protons as that’s basically where the accelerator is meant for in the first place, the particles are that small that when they hit a specific nucleus they can cause all kinds of nuclear and even quantum scale effects.