Date of this Version
Published online in Physics News Update 563 #3, American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Physics News, October 31, 2001 (http://www.aip.org/enews/physnews/2001/split/563- 3.html).
Conventional electron acceleration at a place like SLAC needs miles to boost particles up to 50 GeV energies by feeding them microwaves in a succession of special cavities. In recent years physicists have been developing alternative acceleration concepts that might someday do the job in a much smaller space. Their near-term goal is to produce a first stage accelerator that outputs electron beams with lower energy but with properties that are more suitable for x-ray sources, such as those based on Compton scattering or the proposed linear synchrotrons at SLAC and DESY.