A joint Fermilab/SLAC publication

Ink curing

Next time you pour yourself a bowl of Cheerios, thank the particle accelerator that brought you the bright yellow box. A growing number of printing companies are using innovative accelerator technology to print the cereal boxes that grace the breakfast table.



In the United States, we buy more than 20 billion disposable diapers each year. That's a lot of baby bottoms to keep dry, and parents everywhere can thank particle accelerators for doing their part.


Food packaging

Traditional methods for sterilizing empty packaging are simple and effective, but have environmental drawbacks. Low-energy electron beams from particle accelerators provide an environmentally friendly alternative.



For many patients with serious burn wounds, the most dreaded visitor each day is the doctor or nurse who arrives to change the bandages. But accelerator-treated bandages can create healing environment.


Cargo scanning

More than two billion tons of cargo pass through ports and waterways annually in the United States. Many ports rely on gamma-ray scanners, based on radioactive isotopes such as cobalt-60, to screen cargo for nuclear materials or weapons.


Sterilizing medical supplies

Sterilizing equipment, a critical aspect of modern medical care, can be accomplished by bombarding the equipment and its packaging with a beam of electrons or X-rays derived from a particle accelerator.


Heat-shrink tubing

Heat shrink owes its incredible capabilities to treatment with an electron beam from a particle accelerator.



Miners sometimes add lead nitrate to prevent this and speed things along. But is there a way to fine-tune the process to get more metal out of the ore?


Furniture finish

Who needs coasters when you have electron beams?

Photo of woman cooking in kitchen, cutting vegetables at board

Shrink wrap