Breakthroughs in particle physics are closely related to the availability of electron beams of ever-increasing energy and luminosity. Electron accelerators are also essential to free electron lasers operating in the ultraviolet and X-ray regions. To supply the high brilliance beams used in solid-state physics, as well as in chemistry and biology, 3rd generation synchrotron radiation machines also operate with very intense electron beams.
High-intensity high-energy linear accelerators, capable of consistently reaching 1 GeV and several tens of milliamps, find numerous applications in nuclear and particle physics, and in condensed matter physics as well. The interaction of a proton beam, accelerated by a Linac of this kind, with a target, enables the production of particles such as radioactive ions, neutrons, neutrinos or muons.
Any new project presents challenges of its own and generally needs specific R&D. Conversely, it is often the case that breakthroughs in some one particular R&D can profit to several projects.