New superconducting particle accelerator reaches temperatures cooler than space here on Earth

A particle accelerator that binds electrons here on Earth has reached temperatures colder than those in outer space.

Using the bone scan free-electron laser at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, part of a Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) upgrade project, called LCLS II, scientists cooled liquid helium to minus 456 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 271 degrees Celsius), or 2 Kelvin. That’s just 2 kelvins above absolute zero, the coldest possible temperature at which all particle motion ceases. That icy environment is crucial for the accelerator, because at such low temperatures the machine becomes superconducting, meaning it can push electrons through it with almost zero energy loss.

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