This time-lapse video documents construction of the Hypervelocity Dust Accelerator from start to finish. Credit: CCLDAS

NLSI’s Colorado Center for Lunar Dust and Atmospheric Studies (CCLDAS) is investigating the lunar dust and plasma environment through a combination of modeling, theoretical work and laboratory experiments. Researchers there have completed a 3MV dust accelerator, an experimental facility they are providing to scientists and institutions around the world.

The dust accelerator at CCLDAS was designed to support investigation into the physics of micrometeorid impacts, high-velocity dust in the lunar environment, as well as instrument calibration and testing. Dust particles are accelerated electrostatically. A dust source mounted inside injects highly charged dust particles for acceleration. After exiting the Pelletron, the particle transits a set of pick-up detectors for the initial determination of the charge, mass and velocity. A particle selection unit (PSU) utilizes a set of HV deflection plates to stop particles outside the desired mass and velocity range from entering the experimental chamber. The third pick-up detector confirms the particle’s arrival.

Accelerator facts:
* Energies up to 3 MV
* Particle sizes: 0.2 – 2.5 microns
* Particle velocities: 1 – 100 km/s

CCLDAS maintains a diverse set of experimental facilities, and the 3MV accelerator is the centerpiece of the laboratory. It was designed to enable scientific studies and instrument calibration related to high-speed (up to 100 km/sec) dust impact. They also maintain a number of smaller chambers for carrying out small-scale dusty plasma experiments.

All the CCLDAS facilities, including the dust accelerator, are available for use by scientists and students from other institutions.

For questions regarding the use of any CCLDAS facilities, please contact:

Professor Mihály Horányi
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
1234 Innovation Drive
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80303
Telephone: 303-492-6903

To learn more about the CCLDAS Facilities, including the Lunar Environment Impact Laboratory and Duane Dusty Plasma Laboratory, visit

Posted by: Soderman/NLSI Staff
Source: NLSI Team

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