The Cyclotron Liam Koch Nichol

The cyclotron, a type of particle accelerator, was first created in 1930. A particle in the middle of the cyclotron will accelerate around the chamber through two electrodes due to electrical fields. The particle will accelerate and spiral around the chamber until it shoots out at a target, near the speed of light.

The cyclotron is closely related to the energy transformation and nuclear energy unit. Energy is transferred to the particle from the electrical field into kinetic energy. Transforming energy types to kinetic energy or movement was a main focus in class. Work is also done on the particle. The concept and calculations of work was also a main focus. Furthermore, cyclotrons are used to create radioisotopes for medical purposes (radiopharmaceuticals). Radioactive isotopes were discussed and learned about. These radiopharmaceuticals have half-lives which we also discussed and calculated in class.

Environmental Impacts


Cyclotrons and cyclotron facilities have very little positive affect on the environment if any.


However, due to the small size of cyclotrons and cyclotron facilities, minimal damage is done to the environment. The negative effects to the environment are limited to the small amount of materials needed for the facility, and the possibility of small amounts of radiation.

Economical Impacts


Due to Canada's health care system, cyclotrons are limited in stimulating the economy. The medical care is already paid for by the government. In other countries with different health care approaches, medical services that use a cyclotron would need to be payed for, generating some income. Scientific experiments will also not be economically beneficial until a breakthrough is made that can be used to generate revenue.


The average cost of a cyclotron facility is between 2.5 - 6 million dollars. Plus an upkeep of about 600 thousand dollars a year to use it and keep it functional. Some cyclotrons are privately funded but others, especially in Canada, are publicly funded.

Societal Impacts


Cyclotrons are used for radiation treatment to kill cancerous tumors. The ion beam can penetrate the body and destroy the tumor while doing minimal damage to healthy tissue. Cyclotrons are also used for medical imaging and creating radiopharmaceuticals which are incredibly helpful for some patients.


Some groups of people may question if the money needed to create cyclotron facilities is well spent and others may have doubts about the small amounts of radiation that cyclotrons help emit.

Overall, the societal benefits of cyclotrons over weigh the small environmental impact and the relatively small economical cost of cyclotrons. In today's society, health care is one of the greatest concerns that Canadians often take for granted. Cyclotrons can help battle one of the largest health problems we face today, cancer. Also, cyclotrons can create radioisotopes that are unique and difficult to find, but are needed for some patients. Cyclotrons are very safe and do not contribute to the radiation we are exposed to every day because of the security measures of the facilities. Disregarding experiments that may lead to new findings in physics, cyclotrons have incredible potential for a small price of a few million dollars.


CBC News. (2009). FAQ: Cyclotrons. Retrieved December 28, 2016, from

Cyclotrons. (n.d.). Retrieved December 27, 2016, from

Kaur, A., Sharma, S., & Mittal, B. (2012). Radiation surveillance in and around cyclotron facility. Indian Journal of Nuclear Medicine, 27, 243-245. doi:10.4103/0972-3919.115395

Mandrillon, P. (n.d.). CYCLOTRONS IN RADIOTHERAPY. Retrieved December 27, 2016, from

Nave, R. (n.d.). Cyclotron. Retrieved December 27, 2016, from


Created with images by jungle_group - "Forest" • PIRO4D - "skyscraper skyscrapers building" • zarapp - "houses terraced houses residential area"

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.