City joins super cyclotron league

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Feb 18, 2009
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KOLKATA: India has joined the exclusive club of nations with superconducting cyclotron capability. On Saturday, Salt Lake-based Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre director Bikash Sinha announced the successful completion of the Rs 100 crore project only the fifth in the world that had been stalled for years due to sanctions following the Pokhran nuclear blasts. The four other set-ups are in America and Europe.

The device accelerates charged particles close to the speed of light and is vital for frontline basic and applied research in nuclear sciences. The radio isotopes and proton beams that it will generate can be used for critical medical applications like treating brain tumor and melanoma or eye cancer. At present, there is no healthcare facility in the country that offers non-invasive proton beam surgery which can pinpoint and destroy cancerous cells.

The highly sophisticated device has a 100-tonne iron-core superconducting magnet with a magnetic field of 5 tesla (about 100,000 times earth's magnetic field) and 8 tonne of superconducting coil that is kept cooled at -269?C.

This has equipped VECC with the capability to develop futuristic energy storage and transport systems. It can someday be used to ensure uninterrupted power supply by releasing energy stored in coils. "A lot of hi-tech equipment will become superconducting to reduce energy usage," Sinha said.

It can also lead to transportation systems that make travel lightning quick, in excess of 500 km/h by using magnetic levitation.

"The successful commissioning of the superconducting cyclotron is a huge achievement for the Indian science as there is no such facility in Asia, Australia, South America or Africa. Nearly 70% of the component and systems were indigenously developed. The embargo that followed the 1998 nuclear blasts delayed the project by three-four years but it also led to a lot of learnings," VECC executive director Rakesh Bhandari said.

"India now has the knowhow to create magnets required for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) devices. It will also generate radio-isotopes used in gamma cameras for tumour and cancer diagnosis. In fact, such isotopes will be generated commercially at the medical cyclotron being built at Rajarhat," Bhandari said.

The scientists at VECC are keen to build a fixed energy cyclotron that will emit proton beams to treat cancer. "Proton therapy is used in US and Europe to treat cancer. We are keen to fund the system that should cost Rs 50 crore. The treatment cost per patient will be Rs 2.5-3 lakh," Sinha said. VECC had built the electro linear accelerator (cobalt therapy) for Thakurpukur Cancer Research Institute.

City joins super cyclotron league - Kolkata - Cities - The Times of India


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Regular Member
May 14, 2009
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Great news.....hats off to all who were related to this project


New Member
Mar 22, 2009
Great News, Great Find, Congratulation to our Scientists.



Member of The Month JULY 2009
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Mar 7, 2009
I'm a novice to Particle Physics etc, but could anybody tell me if this is similar to the Large Hadron Collider of CERN ???

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