Standard Article


  1. George H. Mackenzie,
  2. Paul W. Schmor,
  3. H.R. Schneider

Published Online: 15 OCT 2009

DOI: 10.1002/3527600434.eap090.pub2

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

How to Cite

Mackenzie, G. H., Schmor, P. W. and Schneider, H. 2009. Cyclotrons. Encyclopedia of Applied Physics. 403–450.

Author Information

  1. TRIUMF, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 OCT 2009


Since its inception in 1931, the cyclotron has undergone a large number of improvements and developments in various aspects. Presently, there are more than 130 cyclotrons operating commercially and about 75 more in research institutions. The primary use of cyclotrons has moved from basic research in nuclear physics and radiochemistry before and during 1960s, to non-nuclear fields and industrial and medical applications. This chapter gives an overview of the history of cyclotrons and describes their working principle and design features in some detail. The applications of cyclotrons in material industry, medicine, and other new fields are also introduced.


  • cyclotrons;
  • magnetic field;
  • particle beams;
  • post-accelerators;
  • neutron flux;
  • atomic interactions;
  • isotope production