Synchrotrons are a type of particle accelerator—a family of machines that includes the famous Large Hadron Collider.
Different synchrotrons do different jobs. The Diamond Light Source synchrotron in the United Kingdom focuses on producing high-energy beams of light, which are used to aid all different kinds of scientific research—from microbiology to archaeology.
In this short video, Harriet Bailey and Alice Lighton of Elements, a British science news page, explain how Diamond produces light to begin with and how synchrotrons work. They do this, using a model built out of donuts.
This is part of a package of stories on the Diamond Light Source synchrotron. Go to Elements to check out the rest of their coverage, and learn about how this synchrotron is being used for tasks like preserving historic ships and fighting cancer!
Via Ed Yong
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.